Julie Meckler – QueensHead

written by: October 29, 2013
Release Date:


The Chicago Tribune could not be more right in declaring French songstress Julie Meckler as one of their “Artists to Watch in 2011,” although her debut album Queenshead is finally hitting us two years later thanks to a successful Kickstarter from back then.

Meckler, who was formerly an actress overseas, is joined by  a 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). The journey began when Meckler chose to pick up an acoustic guitar and move to America in pursuit of a music career in 2008, having no previous success or experience in the business. She fared well, and over the course of the past five years has formed a talented band with the seasoned musicians that push her songwriting and skill to its full potential.

Since her arrival in 2008 she has called many major cities home, though she eventually fell in love with Chicago and settled there with bandmate and husband James Davis. Her experience traveling across the nation has a large influence on her music, which is apparent on songs like “Manhattan” and the title track “Queen’s Head,” among others.

Her songwriting draws influence from a number of differing genres that include pop rock, blues, reggae, French alternative music, and many more.

Her ability to jump from style to style is astonishing, as she is able to make each of them her own and execute them flawlessly.

Possibly the best example of this is her cover of David Bowie’s famous track “Soul Love,” which she turned from a catchy rock song into a catchier, seductive, elevator music-esque track that will make you sway to the memorable melody and danceable beat. The cover is also an apt example of her vocal control, which she shows off exquisitely in one of the best tracks on Queenshead regardless of the fact that it is a cover. They took a popular song and did such a great job of making it their own that you can barely tell it’s the same song.

The thing that will make you remember Meckler’s music is her warm, delicate voice, which is rivaled by few when it comes to elegance and beauty. In addition to her already identifiably unique voice, the incorporation of French lyrics into her predominantly English songs is another tell-tale sign of her writing. Songs like “The Dresses Song” and “Laissez Moi” are examples of this juxtaposition, and prove that she could easily have solely French music that an American would listen to despite the language barrier.

Another common characteristic in her music is Davis’s obvious presence in many of the songs. His emphatic contributions are usually the forefront of the composition, whether Meckler is singing or not. His dominant style feels fitting when blended with the rest of the bnd, almost becoming the lead instrument through his ornate embellishments. His highlighting songs include the poppy album opener “Me and the Waves,” the calming “Motel,” and reggae-inspired “Bitch.”

As one unified work of art, Queenshead is a well-thought-out beauty of an album. All of the songs are satisfying to listen to and have heaps of emotional value. Though this is true, the album could have had a better ending. “Deportation Blues” is a bluesy track with powerful bass and quivering guitar, but it somehow feels as if it falls short from the bar that was set from the get-go. The song seems a little boring and a bit dragged-out, unlike any of the preceding tracks.

Despite the hiccup at the end, Queenshead is a fantastic example of quality, original new music. Meckler and company did a wonderful job making this album a cohesive work of art as opposed to a bundle of songs haphazardly thrown together for lack of good material.

Julie Meckler – Queenshead tracklisting:

  1. “Me and the Waves”
  2. “Soul Love”
  3. “Manhattan”
  4. “All Your Pretty Things”
  5. “The Cigarettes Song”
  6. “Queen’s Head”
  7. “Motel”
  8. “Bitch”
  9. “Laissez Moi”
  10. “Desire”
  11. “The Dresses Song”
  12. “Forest”
  13. “Deportation Blues”