CD REVIEW: Julie Schurr - Boi In The Girls Room
By Cyrus Rhodes - 02/17/2011 - 12:27 AM EST
Artist: Julie Schurr
Album: Boi In The Girls Room
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Rock
Sounds Like: Indigo Girls, Jewel, Sinead O Conner
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Been so Long, Not My Crime, Own Way Home
Weakness: Lack of Instrumentation, dry & repetitive catalogue, T.M.I. Factor
Missouri based guitarist/singer/songwriter Julie Schurr releases her sophomore CD entitled “Boi in the Girls Room” in 2010.
The CD kicks things off with the “Been So Long” an uplifting little ditty that serves up inviting guitar, well-crafted melody & warm vocal presence from Schurr. This first track is quite compelling & sets the stage well for this catalogue. Track 2 shifts gears a bit with striking “Hymn 10”a solitary guitar piece that serves up thought provoking lyrics, well placed harmonies & passionate vocal delivery from Schurr. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Jewel, Indigo Girls, & perhaps a splash of Sinead O Conner. The actual musical format is very intimate, & is an up close & personal snapshot of the artist. The songs themselves are very naked & personal with messages revealing the highs & lows of life, love, passion, & naked vulnerability. Overall the catalogue is extremely melancholy. Besides the voice & the acoustic guitar you will also notice brief splashes of well-placed strings & keyboard accents, & impressive harmonies layered in the music. The acoustic guitar playing abilities from Schurr are conservative & in the pocket, with honey coated vocal timber that reminds me allot of Jewel. I might add Schurr displays an impressive vibrato every now & then. Lyrical content is extremely revealing as all songs cut deep to the core. From passionate “Boi in the Girls Room” & “Not my Crime” to passionate “Own Way Home” & “Fuck July” (both versions) this CD has something for just about everyone. The true brilliance of Schurr shines through on Track 1 “Been so Long” Track 6 “Not my Crime” & Track 9 “Own Way Home” These pieces are to say the least amazing. The CD ends with “Thank you Track” the perfect finale statement for a production such as this.
I can’t help but wonder what some of these songs would sound like with other musical elements behind them. Instruments such as a drums, bass, solos of any kind, electric guitar ambience, pedal steel, mandolin, fiddles, viola, cello, piano, banjo, percussion, harmonica, Hammond Organ, would add a much needed musical dimension. Due to lack of musical depth the production goes down dry song for song, note for note. Some of the songs are a bit winded & repetitive. All pieces over 4 minutes in length will drag you to the finish line, even at a coffee house. Hats off to Schurr for taking all this on, but in the end of the day, this CD just sounds like it's missing something. Tracks 4,5,8 are to say the least a bit over the top & don’t compare to the songwriting brilliance displayed on tracks 1,6,9. It’s fair to say “T.M.I.” applies to some of the material, songs, mature subject matter, & gaudy lyrical content - Cmon mang!
Overall Boi In The Girls Room is a striking & compelling musical production. Its strong suit is its overall consistency, lyrical wisdom, & bold straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; it took raw honesty & courage to write & perform some of these songs. What I like most about Schurr there is no attempt to hide how she feels, or sugar coat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Schurr is one of those artists. Be advised you may not want to listen to this CD on the day you get fired, or divorced, but if you like melancholy music that provides a very real assessment of the human condition then you should jump into the CD head first.
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