I thought I’d do a bit of online research on Julie Felix before going to see her at Chesterfield Folk club.
She’s had her own TV series; can be found on Youtube singing with Leonard Cohen and has recorded with Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. This perhaps explains why people were buying CDs before the concert had even started.
Before Julie, however, we were treated to Rosie Meek and The Open Road. They were a very polished, tight band with a sound pretty much indistinguishable from a recorded production. With a lovely mix of the wistful and the upbeat, Rosie’s vocals and the eclectic line up of the band couldn’t really fail to please.
Julie Felix took to the stage to a very warm reception. She was a diminutive figure but with a power and energy that belied her 74 years. She meant every word she sang, be it Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ or the enchanting ‘Miss Martin’. You couldn’t help but be carried along by her enthusiasm which came across through an almost effortless stage presence. That presence included a quirky eccentricity that in anybody else would perhaps have been annoying. Julie, though was genuine and sincere and I liked particularly the song about her mother which was full of love, affection and a whimsical humour.
Her second set was comprised entirely of requests which she had been given by the audience during the interval. That is no mean feat, especially as most of them were not the predictable ones. It was during the second half that I began to feel a bit sorry for her guitar. Julie has such a varied guitar style that the strings do not know from one song to the next whether they are going to be lovingly caressed or beaten into submission! Personally, I prefer the gentler approach employed on ‘I Miss You’ and ‘Miss Martin’ but there’s no denying the impact and power of songs like ‘Forever Young’. At 74, perhaps that should be her own personal anthem.