Monday, March 5, 2012

The Difference Between Julia Roberts and Julie Roberts

Julie Roberts Comes Alive!

One can sing. Especially if she’s given good material, and in the case of Julie Roberts, at last a song has come along that shows off her classic bluesy voice — the never-fail “Whiskey and You,” by Chris Stapleton.

If Julie Roberts reminds you of Lee Ann Womack it means you already know about ballsy blondes and their ability to pull off lonesome drinking songs. It is no coincidence that Roberts has worked with the same producer (Byron Gallimore) associated with Womack and Tim McGraw, whose version of “Whiskey and You” is the one most familiar to casual country music fans.

Roberts has recently entered the CMT rotation with a slick storyline video featuring her sitting alone on the bed singing her song, cut with her walking along a wooded path in slow-motion, cut with scenes of happier times with the guy who forms the “you” part of the whiskey equation.

Stylistically it reminds The Inky Jukebox very much of Taylor Swift videos filmed in the same vein, and we wonder if this will help or hurt, given Swift’s current project with The Civil Wars ("Safe and Sound") which features a very similar wooded pathway sequence.

The Inky Jukebox likes Julie Roberts — a lot. But here’s the thing with the video: if you listen to the lyrics of “Whiskey and You” you can hear the brokedown sentiment of someone truly hitting bottom. It’s a quality you can immediately pick up on when you listen to its writer deliver it.

But the treatment Roberts has been given has her simply belting out a torch song — albeit very well — and nowhere does she look like a women on the losing end of a battle with the bottle; she looks perky, pretty, well-kept. I wish the director had allowed her to be filmed looking shabby in order to preserve the integrity of the song (see Faith Hill’s “Cry.”) Sure, we see a gratuitous shot of Roberts in the pouring rain, but it seems unrealistic — people don’t just stand in downpours looking like they just came out of the wardrobe and make-up trailer.

That being said, I hope it takes off and gives Roberts the breakthrough she deserves. Her online marketing is top-notch; she’s ready for prime time. Her website is clearly and beautifully designed and automatically plays a selection of full-length songs form her current and previous albums. It’s really nice to simply have playing in the background if you bring it up on your browser. If any newish musician does not have their record company on the ball in this regard (playing their music, that is) in this era of Spotify, they are fools. On Roberts’s Music page you can browse through all of her albums and give them a listen. There is no stronger marketing tool for a singer who can sell themselves in the old medium — voice alone.