julie christensen & stone cupid

About

Julie Christensen - bandleader, singer, songwriter

Julie Christensen 

Julie Christensen’s story is woven into decades of the fabric of underground and roots rock ’n’ roll. Julie tells her stories, conveying the beauty of suffering with a subtlety that has become her signature,  no matter what the genre they are sung in. "One of the truer singers you’ll ever hear — straight up, no mannerisms, perfect taste; recognize how she could sing with both Leonard Cohen and Chris D." LA WEEKLY

Julie co-fronted post-punk rockers Divine Horsemen, and is a veteran of Leonard Cohen's bands and the documentary "Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man".   “A Sad Clown,” is her seventh record; an acoustic yet gritty offering of her own music and a few gems by fellow East Nashville friends Tim Easton and Darrin Bradbury; and a stunning interpretation of Tom Waits’ Hold On that only Julie can deliver. “A Sad Clown” held the number one spot on Alternate Root, and is her second album with Stone Cupid  -  regulars Sergio Webb, Chris Tench, and Steve Latanation - and Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples) returning on the bass. She also spent time as a jazz chanteuse, tours, has performed and recorded in the studio with Steve Wynn, Van Dyke Parks, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Alejandro Escovedo.  In September 2018, Julie will be inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the “Women Who Rock” category, an honor she will share with 2015 inductee Wanda Jackson. 

Divine Horsemen’s landmark proto-Americana album “Time Stands Still” (recently reissued on Atavistic) was studded with LA post-punk royalty: Texacala Jones, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers, John Doe, Dave Alvin, Dan Stuart. Julie and fellow Divine Horsemen co-founder and then-husband Chris D. toured the country with the band, a powerhouse live headliner and sturdy opener for X, TSOL, Concrete Blonde. Julie was in Steve Wynn’s Quintet, sang on his solo debut, “Kerosene Man”, re-released in April 2018 on Omnivore. The Steve Wynn Quintet appeared on KCRW and Rhino released an authorized bootleg of the session. 

Christensen formed a relationship with Leonard Cohen’s 1979 and 1985 touring band, Austinites with whom she’d performed jazz and blues prior to moving to Los Angeles and forming Divine Horsemen. Roscoe Beck and the others had also played with Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and with Jennifer Warnes, whose position in Cohen’s band Julie would fill when Warnes’ “Famous Blue Raincoat” record came out.

In 1989 Julie was signed to Polygram and Todd Rundgren produced her debut; in the book, “The Greatest Music Never Sold,” Rundgren called it The Female Sgt. Pepper.  Due to a label restructure the record was never released;  presently, the work has begun to change that.  "She was unlike a lot of female singers, who may be creative in their songwriting and write suitably for their own delivery, but don't really try a broad range of styles," he said. 

From 2003-2006, Christensen was asked to sing lead and backup in Hal Willner’s “Came So Far For Beauty” concerts, where she sang alongside Nick Cave, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Linda Thompson, and Antony Hegarty (now Anohni.) The 2005 Sydney shows became the feature documentary “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” which relaunched Leonard’s career. At a 2006 show Julie and Lou Reed dueted on Cohen's song  "Joan of Arc,” one she had often done with Cohen himself. In January 2016 old friend Alejandro Escovedo invited Julie to sing at his special Leonard Cohen Influence Evening at ACL at the Moody Theatre in Austin. In September 2018, Julie was inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the “Women Who Rock” category, an honor she shares with 2015 inductee Wanda Jackson. 

   Walkaway

 

"--one of the truer singers you’ll ever hear — straight up, no mannerisms, perfect taste; listen to.. her piercing new Something Familiar, and recognize how she could sing with both Leonard Cohen and Chris D. “--Greg Burk L.A. WEEKLY

“Simply put, this gal’s voice can raise every single hair on my body— and all at the same time! Be it R&B, pop, rock, she can sing it all, and with style, too.” -- LA Weekly

"From the heart-wrenching title track, which serves up an aching dose of harsh reality, to the cascading piano that drives the plaintive “Something Pretty,” Where the Fireworks Are is a collection of songs spanning the emotional spectrum. It provides an evocative musical chariot for Christensen to weave her vocal magic." (Brett Leigh-Dicks) VC REPORTER

 

LONGER BIO FOR JULIE:

 

“…Do what you love, ‘cause you only get paid in lessons…

Your mama’s just a sad sad clown. How long has she been around?

There’s work to be done, and no time for her to slow down.

Your mama’s just a sad sad clown.” —Julie Christensen

 

Julie Christensen’s story is woven into decades of the fabric of underground and roots rock ’n’ roll. Julie tells her stories, conveying the beauty of suffering with a subtlety that has become her signature,  no matter what the genre they are sung in. "One of the truer singers you’ll ever hear — straight up, no mannerisms, perfect taste; recognize how she could sing with both Leonard Cohen and Chris D." LA WEEKLY

Julie co-fronted post-punk rockers Divine Horsemen, and is a veteran of Leonard Cohen's bands and the documentary "Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man".   “A Sad Clown,” is her seventh record; an acoustic yet gritty offering of her own music and a few gems by fellow East Nashville friends Tim Easton and Darrin Bradbury; and a stunning interpretation of Tom Waits’ Hold On that only Julie can deliver. “A Sad Clown” held the number one spot on Alternate Root, and is her second album with Stone Cupid  -  regulars Sergio Webb, Chris Tench, and Steve Latanation - and Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples) returning on the bass. She also spent time as a jazz chanteuse, tours, has performed and recorded in the studio with Steve Wynn, Van Dyke Parks, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Alejandro Escovedo.  In September 2018, Julie was inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the “Women Who Rock” category, an honor she shares with 2015 inductee Wanda Jackson. 

Divine Horsemen’s landmark proto-Americana album “Time Stands Still” (recently reissued on Atavistic) was studded with LA post-punk royalty: Texacala Jones, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers, John Doe, Dave Alvin, Dan Stuart. Julie and fellow Divine Horsemen co-founder and then-husband Chris D. toured the country with the band, a powerhouse live headliner and sturdy opener for X, TSOL, Concrete Blonde. Julie was in Steve Wynn’s Quintet, sang on his solo debut, “Kerosene Man”, re-released in April 2018 on Omnivore. The Steve Wynn Quintet appeared on KCRW and Rhino released an authorized bootleg of the session. 

Christensen formed a relationship with Leonard Cohen’s 1979 and 1985 touring band, Austinites with whom she’d performed jazz and blues prior to moving to Los Angeles and forming Divine Horsemen. Roscoe Beck and the others had also played with Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and with Jennifer Warnes, whose position in Cohen’s band Julie would fill when Warnes’ “Famous Blue Raincoat” record came out.

In 1989 Julie was signed to Polygram and Todd Rundgren produced her debut; in the book, “The Greatest Music Never Sold,” Rundgren called it The Female Sgt. Pepper.  Due to a label restructure the record was never released;  presently, the work has begun to change that.  "She was unlike a lot of female singers, who may be creative in their songwriting and write suitably for their own delivery, but don't really try a broad range of styles," he said. 

From 2003-2006, Christensen was asked to sing lead and backup in Hal Willner’s “Came So Far For Beauty” concerts, where she sang alongside Nick Cave, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Linda Thompson, and Antony Hegarty (now Anohni.) The 2005 Sydney shows became the feature documentary “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” which relaunched Leonard’s career. At a 2006 show Julie and Lou Reed dueted on Cohen's song  "Joan of Arc,” one she had often done with Cohen himself. In January 2016 old friend Alejandro Escovedo invited Julie to sing at his special Leonard Cohen Influence Evening at ACL at the Moody Theatre in Austin. 

"Her swagger is true to her rebellious punk-rock roots, and refined through working with the likes of Cohen, Iggy Pop, Public Image Limited..." Christensen has worn coats of many different colors, and this one's red.” No Depression 

“With a background that includes gothic cowpunks Divine Horsemen and two tours as Leonard Cohen’s backing singer, Christensen has no problems bending musical boundaries. Here there’s East Nashville back porch country, tattooed barroom rock (Honey Let’s Go To Town): a lovely, Blue Valentine-esque ballad (Like Nothing Hurts), as well as a fine cover of Tom Waits’ Hold On.- Sylvie Simmons, MOJO

"Julie Christensen is a singer who paints the moon every time she gets near a microphone. Maybe that's because songs run through her veins, whether she writes them or chooses them. It's not hard to discover today who's up there on the tightrope risking their lives to stay in the music business, because for them there is no other way to live. This lady has been singing a long time, but on A SAD CLOWN Christensen sounds as new as tomorrow. Her heart is pounding, her ears are glowing and her voice remains a miracle. And she'll take you there too." - Bill Bentley, author/writer/A&R 

"You have wrought another thing of beauty and guts and all the good stuff of which you are made! Really wonderful— (A Sad Clown) the songs, the vocals, the band vibe. You are on a roll, my dear.”    Joe Woodard (Rolling Stone, LA Times)

“Julie Christensen is a Nordic Zephyr. Get her!” Van Dyke Parks

“Julie is gold. Solid. Gold.”  Chuck Prophet

 "It was her ability to sing with conviction in a variety of approaches that made her extraordinary to me." Todd Rundgren

“Julie Christensen’s music is deep and wide and speaks of experience. Her voice has amazing range, her own songs are little gems and her choice in material is assured. Wherever she is taking you, you’ll want to go.”  Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples Band)

 

  

Stone Cupid - band

Stone Cupid Hit the Heart, Headed for the Studio                      

Julie Christensen’s new band Stone Cupid, a kindred spirit to her post-punk powerhouse Divine Horsemen, was invited to be one of the final acts at East Nashville landmark The Family Wash, before its relocation, in February. The honor was eagerly accepted, since it was at the Wash that the band first played together less than a year before, and felt something truly special.

“This lineup fell together almost fatefully, and the songs seemed to play themselves,” says Christensen. “It was so natural, so simpatico, like some concurrent extra-spiritual thing.” Stone Cupid headed to the studio with producer Jeff Turmes in mid-March along with engineer Joe Costa (RCA Studio A/Ben Folds) to capture that vibe in an album that was mixed and mastered in late spring of 2015 and was released January 22, 2016.

Christensen, who’s authored five independent albums and sung with everyone from Leonard Cohen to Lou Reed, has surrounded herself with a team of team players. Guitarists Sergio Webb and Chris Tench flank Christensen at the front, and the “absence of ego” she lauds is on full display. As Tench creates the ideal sonic landscape, Webb populates it with one stunning surprise after another. Propelling the enterprise are drummer Steve Latanation and bassist Bones Hillman, who combine taste and telepathy into something so unified they seem a single entity.

The crew’s résumés feature stage or studio credits for a wide swath of top-shelf acts, including Midnight Oil, Sheryl Crow, Agent Orange, Americana stalwarts Matthew Ryan, Amelia White and David Olney, and country mavericks Gail Davies and Pinto Bennett.

Christensen’s own musical odyssey is as varied as the kinds of songs she can deliver. Born and raised in Iowa, she headed to Austin in the late 70s, then L.A. in 1981. There she met and married Chris Desjardins and together they formed Divine Horsemen, a band whose sound she likens to “Beggars Banquet-era Stones.” Three whirlwind years later, they had amassed two full albums, two EPs, three cross-country tours, three songs on the Border Radio soundtrack, and one blown-apart band, marriage included.

From 1988-1993 Christensen toured the world with Leonard Cohen as one of two featured backup singers. In 1990, she was signed by Polygram, but the Todd Rundgren-produced album fell victim to label politics and went unreleased. 2005 saw her paying tribute to Cohen in the Came So Far for Beauty concert series, and spotlighted in the feature documentary I’m Your Man.

An East Nashville resident since 2013, Christensen is beguiled by its concentration of musicians and their camaraderie. The move from California, meant to nurture opportunities in the acoustic/roots community, now finds her in the studio with a rock band, envisioning big-stage concert and festival gigs, and she couldn’t be happier. “I really come alive with a band,” she says, “I’m very theatrical, and people respond to it.”

Producer Turmes, who’s worked with such luminaries as Mavis Staples, Tom Waits and Richard Thompson, was again at the helm, as he was for Christensen’s previous album, 2012’s “Weeds Like Us,” a project that garnered some Top Ten attention in end-of-year honors.

The new album will include artful tunes from Kevin Gordon, Chuck Prophet and others, and a healthy helping of Christensen originals, plus a bonus hidden track of a soul cover of Cohen’s “Anthem.” “I’m so fired up with what we’re doing,” she says, noting similarities to her 80s roots with the Horsemen. “There was all this grand stuff then -- the Reagan Era, DynastyMiami Vice -- and bubbling under was all this heartbreak and dysfunction and despair. It bred a lot of wonderful art.”

She’s also optimistic that albums are not the dinosaurs some predict. “An album is an arc. It unfolds, piece by piece. I see young people buying albums. They’re listening. They’re getting it. I love that.”A new Stone Cupid album will be well worth the listen. “We’ve all done the big stages,” says Christensen. “This won’t be our first rodeo.”   --Tony Laiolo Spring 2015