The Upshot: Erstwhile Divine Horse-woman and Leonard Cohen vocalist finally leads her own outfit, bringing songwriting excellence and a passionate voice.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Julie Christensen has a hell of a resumé, from bouncing around the Austin music scene in the early ‘80s to joining then-paramour Chris D. in the wooly and wonderful Divine Horsemen to a quarter of a century singing for Leonard Cohen. It’s taken decades, but now she’s finally leading her own band: Stone Cupid. Joined by guitarists Sergio Webb (David Olney) and Chris Tench, drummer Steve Latanation and bassist Bones Hillman (formerly of Midnight Oil), Christensen makes essentially styleless rock, guitar-oriented and loud but rarely raucous.
Craft dominates, with all arrangements circling the song – not unexpected, given her many years with Cohen. Which isn’t to say that Christensen doesn’t cut loose when she feels necessary – her quavering wail sometimes injects a bit more passion than is really necessary. But she generally keeps herself in check, serving the songs – mostly original, and it’s a testament to her writing that she’s on par with tunes by Kevin Gordon and Chuck Prophet – with aplomb, whether she’s singing ballads (“Broken as I Am,” “No Mercy”), rockers (“Shed My Skin,” “Gasoline”) or epics (“Live and Not Die Trying,” “Saint on a Chain”). Solid and soulful.
DOWNLOAD: “Shed My Skin,” “Live and Not Die Trying,” “Broken as I Am”