Reading Julia Floberg’s about me on her website had me intrigued. A cellist who thought about going into the classical scene but decided to veer off that path at some point and do her own thing, it was relateable. As a classical trained pianist, when I was young I dreamed of the day I would be at Juilliard studying with some of the greats but as I got older I realized that maybe that just wasn’t for me. It’s not that I didn’t love classical piano and I still play it nearly everyday but it just wasn’t something I could see myself doing long term. I knew what I was expecting when I put Julia’s ‘Two Roads To Nowhere’ album in my stereo but I ended up getting so much more.
The ten song album kicks off with “Cold and Weary”. You instantly hear Julia’s masterful cello work as this song starts with very little behind it. Almost haunting yet completely beautiful and stunning, Julia’s voice comes in with an almost classical styled vocal that is just as stunning. A lower voice than I expected, it compliments the drone like cello sound and the whispy lines of notes above it. I love that you can hear that classical training in this song from both the vocals and the instrumentation and I adore that it is unlike a lot of the music out there these days.
“Dreamin’ Bout You” completely changes the the path of this album. This second track shows very little in common with “Cold and Weary” yet Julia’s distinct voice stays a constant throughout this song and the rest of the album. “Dreamin’ Bout You” brings a dancey vibe that is instantly captivating. This track had me tapping my toes instantly and is one of those songs that makes you happy without even trying. Just when I found myself trying to get my cats to dance along with me, the album moves into “Trail of Copper” which slows things down while still keeping this free-flowing vibe to it. Less singer-songwriter than I had expected this album to be, the way all of the instruments (and there are a lot of them from drums to piano to guitar and more) fit into each song is nothing short of perfection. Although there’s a lot going on, there’s not a single moment where it feels overwhelming or where Julia’s voice is overpowered.
“Chasing Minnows” keeps with the upbeat vibe going but introduces this almost old-timey style to it. From the walking bass line to little guitar licks hidden here and there, this track is full of happy little surprises. When you add the lyrics about how life was much easier when we were all kids you are left with one of my favorite tracks on this album.
Things slow down to a more somber note for “Are You Scared”. Julia’s voice turns into a soft whisper that was a bit hard to hear at first but there was a sense of brilliance in that. I loved the way that this almost lullaby-like track followed a track about going back to the easy days of being a kid. A perfect progression of songs, Julia’s voice shines in “Are You Scared” as it dances above the calming instrumentation with ease. There aren’t many liner notes on the sleeve that this album came in but a male voice comes in about half way through this song and instantly swept me off my feet. It was a little playful but also full of passion and heart. As the song fades out, Julia’s voice comes in with the male voice and creates a perfect harmony that instantly gave me chills.
“Night Sky” brings back the haunting vibe that was introduced with the first track. Julia’s voice slides from note to note without hesitation and with more than enough passion and conviction. Although I had it in my mind that this entire album would just be voice and cello, this is the first time where the cello is really brought to the forefront. “Great Wide Open” keeps with the slower paced vibe at the beginning of the track that is set up in the previous two songs but there’s something energetic about Julia’s voice. A new almost jazz vibe to her vocals and the addition of an organ make this song stand out while still feeling like part of this album as a whole. Just when I thought I got the vibe of this song, the drums kick in with a hurried pace and my dancing shoes were put back on. Just after a little fight between the organ and guitar with frantic lines of notes being shot back and forth, the song slows back down to the vibe that was laid out in the first couple of seconds. A truly up and down song, I loved that this track was able to showcase a little bit of everything that had been put out there previously in the album. Definitely a favorite for me!
“Now She’s Gone” brings a wine bar vibe to the album. After the dramatic waves of emotion and vibe in “Great Wide Open”, this is the perfect song to just calm everything down. It’s not quite a slow dance kind of song but there’s something very tender about Julia’s voice and the instrumentation in this song that makes you want to grab your crush and swing them around a swanky wine bar. “Look High, Look Low” takes the tenderness and pushes it to a whole new level. This song definitely tells a story and although there were no lyric sheets for me to follow along with, the lines of words that I was able to catch instantly had me sold on this song. Although Julia’s lyrics are amazing throughout this album and clearly show her wearing her heart on her sleeve, this song was definitely my favorite when it came to the words.
The journey that is Julie Floberg’s ‘Two Roads To Nowhere’ comes to a close with “Wandering On”. Sounding more like the first track when this song starts than anything else, this tracks acts as a bookend to a stunning album but there are also elements throughout this song that make you want to go back and listen to it all over again. There’s a new choral element brought into this song that proves that although you just listened to ten songs from this uber talented woman, she still has more tricks up her sleeve. I can’t wait to see more of those tricks in the future from Julia Floberg.
Yeah, I thought I knew what I was going to get when I popped this album into my stereo and, although I was intrigued, I wasn’t super stoked about it. Classical cellist turned singer-songwriter— I mean, the writing was on the wall and I thought I was going to get a stunning yet sleepy album. Julia gave me so much more and I truly can’t wait to see what else she comes out with.
My Favorite Track(s): “Great Wide Open”; “Chasing Minnows”; “Look High, Look Low”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 4.2 out of 10
For Fans Of: Classical Music, Unpredictable Song Compositions, Stunning Beauty
Daydream-ability: 6.8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis laid right on top of my arms while I tried to type this all out; Autumn slept under the coffeetable
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7.8 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
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