Julia Lee brings a rural, romantic, religious sensibility to her lyrics and music on her first studio album (and first to be released by an independent label), Stillhouse Road. Lee, who grew up in Maryland before moving to Nashville, has a warm, breathy voice that calls to mind Maria Muldaur and Dolly Parton, and her musical arrangements are full of acoustic country instruments: guitars, fiddles, mandolins, Dobro, banjo. She uses nature imagery sometimes for its own sake ("Beautiful Night" is just about a beautiful night), sometimes as a means of expressing love. Her references are also biblical; not only is the object of her affection in "Your Love" "like water in the desert," but she herself is "like the grave at Resurrection / After the stone was rolled away." Lee writes and sings about the attractive powers of cornmeal bread "Made From Scratch" and about the journey of 19th century abolitionist Sojourner Truth, but her favorite subject is her own boundless love, a love "as strong as death," as she puts it in "Many Waters," and one which finds her in despair at album's end when her lover is away and appears not to be coming back in "Till the Cows Come Home." Although she refers in that last song to watching the news, most of her songs sound like they could have been written before the invention of electricity, much less television, and sung on the porch of a house out in the woods as "grandpa's white lightning" and that homemade cornmeal bread were being passed around.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann