• Bryon Harris

Julie Cira - 'Julie Cira'

Based out of Northampton, Massachusetts, Julie Cira is a talented Americana, lo-fi indie rock and alt-country singer-songwriter who describes her band as "femme fatale and punk at heart." On her 3-song self-titled debut EP, Julie Cira is joined by Nadia Elle Levin (lead guitar, bass), Greg McKillop (drums, backing vocals) and Kathleen Mahoney (keyboards, backing vocals). All three tracks were written by Julie with the exception of track two, "Flame On, Heart," in which the music and lyrics were co-written with Teal Van Dyck.

Photo Credit: Kelly Marciano

The EP opens with the song “Time.” Hard hitting drums, bass and acoustic rhythm guitar complete the 2-bar intro. The band’s basic setup throughout is that of a gritty, edgy folk-rock band, thick and sparse, sometimes decorated with small electric guitar motifs, but without major solos or show-off moments. Instead the band opts for an unplugged/ raw foundation for Julie's vocals which are loaded with character and depth, perfect for the basic rock mix. “Time” talks about a love lost and how people say that you will heal over time, but that is not true for everyone. “Oh what they say about time. Healing your wounds, easing your mind. Oh well the tales they tell are not tales of mine. Bitter fruit falls from perfect vines.” In some cases, love leaves a scar. “And I’m not the same as I was.” In any case, if time doesn’t heal you, Julie’s voice may as it subtly washes over you with an unprocessed approach.

Track two is “Flame On, Heart.” It has nice rock groove with infectious melodic content and a strong hook. "There is a fire in your heart. You were a fire from the start. Flame on heart, heart flame on Flame on heart, heart flame on.” In Flame On, Heart, the lyrics seem to depict a love that can’t be tamed and is lived in the moment. There is a poetic quality to the lyrics in all three tracks."Same armor no horse. Blood full of iron. Sharp teeth smiling.” Check out the video of Flame On, Heart:

The last track on the EP is “For The Record.” This mid-tempo ballad pulls you in with genuine honesty. Julie has a knack for telling a story then inviting you to reflect on it with her by revealing the haunting and vulnerable voices inside each of us. “There was a lighthouse out at sea. And I wonder will it shine for me. Ever shine for me?” Vocally, Julie holds on to certain vowels longer for emotional emphasis, giving her a signature sound unlike others. Never over-doing it, Julie avoids classic pop nuances and offers up an alt-rock vibe that is both sandy and smooth, sometimes she goes for the grit and other times she polishes it up. In the EP ‘Julie Cira,’ Julie explores the complexities of relationships by untangling what is open and raw with a natural, sometimes gritty and sometimes delicate, vocal experience that invites you to live those moments of humanity with her."If you ever find yourself in need. Just come to me, come to me.” To learn more about Julie Cira, check her out on BandCamp.