From Charlottesville, Virginia comes pop-rock band Dropping Julia. The original songs on their debut album Wake Up come from front-woman Emily Kresky. Hailing from New Jersey and picking up the guitar at 19, Kresky played in pubs, restaurants and street performances. By adding bassist Niko Cvetanovich and drummer Sean Bracken, Kresky’s songs took on a new personality. By infusing ’90s inspired pop-rock with some funk and R&B layered over songs rooted in folk and rockabilly the band Dropping Julia was truly born. They perfectly blend Jersey sass with Virginia charm. In one year of playing together the band has been traveling the east coast performing at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and RVA Music Hall.
Wake Up begins with the soft-spoken words of Emily Kresky on “Bad Sun.” The simple sound of her guitar, deep bass and mellow drums makes the song peaceful to get lost within the strong lyrics. “The Station” is more upbeat and has a fun swing to it. Having a fiddle playing doesn’t hurt either providing a track that people can dance to with its high energy.
Dropping Julia gets funky and soulful on “No Good.” With a solid organ intro and flute solo throughout the song, Kresky’s raw energy from her voice lights up the track. “Please forgive me baby if I come off too strong. I know too much thinking I’ve lived my life too long. You’re no good for me; I’m no good for you. It’s a dollar for deed and another for the truth.” Another song that showcases Kresky’s voice well is “Into the Woods.” The noise off the drums and guitar work together beautifully as her raspy voice puts you in a swinging trance. As the jam progresses it leads to a wonderful guitar soul that’s as powerful as her voice.
After some high-energy songs, Dropping Julia cools things down a bit with “December.” The chill vibes of the track captures the feeling of years’ end and reflecting on events. The calming guitar and wonderful storytelling can make anyone relate about reminiscing about their own hometown around holiday season. “It’s December out in Jersey, but still I can smell the sea. Can we take a drive along the coast until we have to leave?” The band then jazzes up the album with a nice saxophone on “Crying Shame” and “Glasses Down.” I wish I could see both songs live at a jazz club because hearing them all I could think of was having a smoke with a cocktail in my hand.
Dropping Julia’s Wake Up is a tight album that blends a variety of genres to form a strong sound. Enough can’t be said about Emily Kresky’s amazing voice. It’s rough, raspy yet elegant and filled with soul. Of course it wouldn’t be as impactful without a fantastic group of musicians surrounding her.
Wake Up starts soft and relaxed with “Bad Sun” then ramps up with edgy, upbeat funk ending with fun gypsy jazz. The album has stories of heartache, drinking and taking drugs, being sent to a reform school as a teen, and even a haunted brothel in New Orleans. If any of that intrigues you, (and it should!), make sure to give Dropping Julia’s Wake Up a thorough listen.
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