julie christensen & stone cupid

About

Julie Christensen - bandleader, singer, songwriter

Julie Christensen 

Julie co-fronted post-punk rockers Divine Horsemen with Chris D and is a veteran of Leonard Cohen’s bands (and the documentary I’m Your Man) “A Sad Clown” is her 7th 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 the stunning kind of interpretation of Tom Waits’ Hold On that only Julie can deliver.

She spent time as a jazz chanteuse, tours, has performed and recorded with Steve Wynn, Van Dyke Parks, John Doe, and Exene Cervenka. 

“Her swagger is true to her rebellious punk-rock roots and refined through working with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, and Public Image Limited.”

–No Depression

“Julie Christensen’s music is deep and wide, 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 

Julie has been accompanying herself on guitar lately, surrounded by her many musical friends and allies, and is looking to book concerts, house concerts, festivals and listening room situations throughout the U.S. and Europe. She and her husband, actor and artist John Diehl, currently reside in East Nashville, where she has also assembled a band of all-star players and released a top 100 roots-rock album, "The Cardinal," in 2016.

 

   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:

JULIE CHRISTENSEN BIO (LONGFORM)

“…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 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,” due March 16, 2018, 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. Since Julie and her husband, artist and actor John Henry Diehl, moved to Nashville, A Sad Clown is her second album with her new Stone Cupid bandmates  -  regulars Sergio Webb, Chris Tench, and Steve Latanation - and this time with the bass-playing help of Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples).  2016’s “The Cardinal,” a full-band rock outing, featured a song that was chosen for UK Label Rough Trade’s Rough Guide to Americana, alongside cuts by Patty Griffin and Mary Gauthier. She also spent time as a jazz chanteuse, tours, has performed and recorded in the studio with Steve Wynn, Van Dyke Parks, John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Now, Divine Horsemen is planning a west-coast reunion tour for October 2018.


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.  For Julie, “A Sad Clown” is about striding into her own spotlight, focusing some attention on what’s at the center of that light, and taking a triumphant bow.

Born and raised in Iowa, Christensen left college to tour with her first country-rock band, Longshot, hit the road with a cover band, and landed for a time in Austin, Texas to sing and come of age before heading to LA in the early 80s to eventually meet Chris D. at a session with Top Jimmy. After cutting a country tune, she became a pioneer with punk-roots rockers Divine Horsemen.  

Julie co-founded LA’s Divine Horsemen with Chris D (who also became her husband.) Their landmark proto-Americana album “Time Stands Still”  (recently reissued on Atavistic) was studded with a who’s-who of LA post-punk: Texacala Jones, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers, John Doe, Dave Alvin, Dan Stuart, and others. The band itself went electric and became a powerhouse live headliner, as well as sturdy opener for X, TSOL, Concrete Blonde and others, touring the country on the strength of 2 SST Records full-length albums and 2 EPs from 1984-87. 

Before and during this time, Julie 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.

When drug addiction broke up Julie and Chris’ marriage and the band in 1988, Julie stepped on to the path of sobriety where she is today. She was also available, and Julie was asked to sing backup and duet on a short European and North American tour in support of Leonard Cohen’s 10-million-seller “I’m Your Man” that expanded to well over seven months. Partly, it was because of the audition Christensen gave in front of famed engineer Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell, Lucinda Williams) but mostly, it was because when she met Leonard at his apartment and had lunch with him and musical director Roscoe Beck that early spring day in 1988. She and Leonard began a musical and true friendship when Leonard let her know the work would be hard, and Julie, in her months-new sobriety, let him know she was up to the task. She looked in his eyes and they shook on it. For that tour and even through another tour after the birth of her son in 1993, she did not let him down. She sang and toured extensively with Leonard Cohen over a six-year period.

 Christensen has shared concert bills and friendships with some of the greats who still populate Americana/Roots Rock today, like Exene Cervenka and John Doe of X, Dave Alvin of The Blasters, Chuck Prophet, Peter Case, Johnette Napolitano, and Alejandro Escovedo. These and other artists used her talents in the studio: Leonard, Exene, John Doe, Van Dyke Parks, Steve Wynn, Iggy Pop, PiL, and more. Todd Rundgren produced her major label debut; in the book, “The Greatest Music Never Sold,” Todd Calls it The Female Sgt. Pepper. Afterward, Christensen opted for family life in Ojai, CA and making five independent albums utilizing the talents of her friends, stellar musicians including Karen Hammack, who also played with fellow Cohen singer Perla Batalla, Robben Ford, (Julie returning the favor on a couple of his albums,) Greg Leisz, (who plays on most of Bill Frisell and Lucinda Williams’ records,) Tom Lackner and Bill Flores (Jeff Bridges,) Jim Christie (Merle Haggard, Lucinda, Dwight Yoakum), and Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples.) 

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 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. Members of Divine Horsemen including Julie and Chris will reunite in October for a short West Coast tour.

link to buy "A Sad Clown" with streaming title track (full-length album released March 16, 2018)

 https://juliechristensen.bandcamp.com/album/a-sad-clown

 “The Cardinal,” by Julie’s band Stone Cupid was #70 on the Roots Music Report Roots Rock Album Chart for 2016

"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 

Read more about Julie in No Depression:

http://nodepression.com/article/former-punk-rocker-sings-new-tune-musical-hotbed-east-nashville

 

2017 Official Showcase Artist at FARM in Iowa City

2012 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival "Emerging Artist Showcase" performer.

2009 & 2012 Official Performance Alley Showcase Artist at International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis 

 

On "Weeds Like Us", Julie's 2012 album:

 

"You don’t earn a pedigree like Julie Christensen’s without a high level of authenticity… Christensen manages to convey the beauty of suffering with a subtlety that cannot be faked.  It’s a quality that less-seasoned vocalists could and should learn from. Christensen’s career fits pretty squarely in the folk-Americana category, where a handful of other ’80s L.A. punk rock alumni also comfortably landed.  Probably best known for her work with Leonard Cohen, Christensen has earned a reputation for her vocal versatility.  She is indeed a force to be reckoned with and WEEDS LIKE US is a record worthy of your full attention." --Michel Miller, VC Reporter

"There is searing resolve in these songs, whether it's Jim Lauderdale's "Slow Motion Trouble" or her own "My Lucky Stars." Over 35 years into her professional career the singer sounds fully at home in the middle of the Americana movement, but at the same time remains very much her own person. Call her a permanent rebel, or maybe a singer on a march, but either way Julie Christensen continues to search for clues wherever the music takes her. What a ride."--Bill BentleyBentley's Bandstand on the Morton Report  

"--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

“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

  

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