Julie Meckler

Julie Meckler

At times, French songstress Julie Meckler's story can sound almost cinematic. Leaving behind a life as a theater actress in her native Paris, Meckler immigrated to the US in early 2008 and bought her first guitar in New York City. There, the music began, as did her journey across a country she'd never seen before. After visits to Buffalo, Detroit, Portland and Vancouver, she settled in Chicago just as her visa expired. This began a determined, hopeful path as she opted to stay despite fears of deportation and never seeing her home country again. Over four years of honing her craft onstage - from gallery lofts to songwriter circles to sold out bills at venues such as the Hideout, Empty Bottle and Schubas - she's assembled a collaborative group of Chicago veterans that includes bassist Brett Bakshis (Wooden Rings, Belleisle), guitarist Will Phalen, guest guitarist Ryan Anderson (Go Long Mule), trumpeter James Davis (ALDRIC, Zing!), and drummer/percussionist Shawn Rios (Stolen Silver, Dick Prall).

Touted in the Tribune's Metromix as one of "15 Chicago Artists to Watch" alongside The Disappears and The Smith Westerns, Meckler and band have spent the last two years hard at work at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio with producer/multi-instrumentalist Will Phalen(The Stereo Addicts, Musikanto, Bailiff). The result of their labor, the aptly-titled Queenshead, offers a rather diverse collection of songs narrated by her hauntingly unique voice, vulnerable storytelling, and climactic intensity. Her youthful curiosity and playful dance into the unknown is matched with a wary wisdom gained only from risks taken and lessons learned along the way. Reggae, 70s AM radio vinyl, Mariachi, lush reverbed-out Blues, orchestral Pop and Post-punk all have a voice in the mix. It's all there, imbedded in the arrangements. Standout tracks include the pulsating guitar rocker "Forest," the despairing yet thorny Dub cut "Bitch," and the dancey Graceland-infused title track "Queenshead." And while the album will draw listeners with potent genre-spanning singles, it's a record created to be absorbed in its entirety. Each piece is a vital element of the story, yet mystery and unanswered questions still prevail; every tune portrays a different character, unpredictable and sensitive yet blunt in their nature.

Upon the arrival of Queenshead, momentum and fanfare continue to build. The group has dropped their video for the single "Manhattan" (shot both in France and the US) and is about to release their next - their Bossa Nova-infused take on David Bowie's 1968 Ziggy Stardust cut "Soul Love." Inevitably, new material is emerging as a part of their live show. And as most stories love a good ending, Meckler has not only married along the way (to jazz trumpeter/composer James Davis) but has also gained a Green Card and will return to France this summer to finally reconnect with her country, family and friends and show them her new artistic musical ventures. While hometown fans can expect more headlining bills in the later part of 2013, it won't take long for those everywhere to have their chance at seeing Julie Meckler on the road, performing with the same intimacy that can be achieved through a pair of headphones and a record player. Her soundtrack is our movie.

"Meckler's presentation drew the listener into her world. Watching her was like ducking into a dark theater on a summer day to watch a foreign black-and-white film." -ConcertGoer.com

"This Parisian transplant pens moody tunes that rival epic mood swings. Witness "Deportation Blues," which opens in muted tones before the guitars and Meckler begin snarling at one another at its staggering climax." - Metromix

"Julie Meckler rocks like a French PJ Harvey, feminine and dominant." - Goth Traveler

The Blue Ribbon Glee Club

The Blue Ribbon Glee Club is a Chicago-based a capella group performing covers of classic punk rock songs.

For the record, The Blue Ribbon Glee Club has been around since March 2007. We're predominantly a live performance group. For us, it's not about whitewashing rock and roll, it's about using our voices to embody the same power and dirt that ultimately drew us to the songs we cover. But sure, some of it sounds pretty.

Roy Ivy

Roy Ivy's had a good run. As a singer/songwriter, he toured for three years with The Polyphonic Spree (but quit months before Annie Clark joined, so please stop asking) and then drove his beloved Dallas pop-punk act (The Tah-Dahs) into the ground before starting over in Chicago as a copywriter, folk singer, and avid DJ hater. You can find him writing on his front porch, playing sparsely attended shows, and sneaking into movies with his long-suffering gal. He’s great at bumming cigarettes, will talk your ear off about Broadcast News, and would gladly recommend his film school alma mater (UT at Austin) to his worst enemy.


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