Julie Skedel: Back Porch Band

*Video courtesy of Josh Williams

I know we all have those days when we do more on a “day off” than we do when we work.  Everyday errands and hobbies we have to do at home have a way of taking up time.  Sometimes having no particular plans keeps us busier than being on a schedule.  What I thought was going to be a work-free weekend for me quickly turned into a Friday night filled with fantastic music that I wanted to feature.

A friend of mine was having a birthday gathering, and that’s how it began.  She asked if I would attend, I asked if I would know anybody in attendance besides her, she said no, so like the social butterfly that I can sometimes be I said sure I’d be pleased to partake!  The hosts had the grill going and a fire for us.  We were all introduced and casual conversation began, mostly about the cute kittens in the kitchen.

As we sat around celebrating, someone got a guitar and started strumming some strings.  After a quick poll I realized that most of the people at the party were musically minded, and one girl in particular kept getting harassed to perform.  All I knew about her at the time was that she had just moved back from Alaska.  What I would learn, though, is that sitting around a small table with ten other people with a free front row seat, I would witness one of the most unique, private, in person performances I have ever heard.

After a few random requests, Julie Skedel finally decided what song she’d sing.  As I sat in silence through her impressive impromptu performance of “Zombie” by The Cranberries, accompanied by Jesse Scott on guitar, I knew something special had just happened.  Another guitar, a banjo, and a heart to heart I had with a man I’d just met later, I knew this was better than being at any show on my schedule.  What I found on a back porch on a Friday night was worth writing about.  Day off be damned!

Sara Fincham:  Do you often get asked to sing by your friends?

Julie Skedel:  I get asked to sing every time we drink. Josh (Williams) is the neediest of all my friends when it comes to my vocals. It’s guaranteed anytime we’re drinking that Josh will suggest I sing opera. We could be in a biker bar and you could bet that if I had a beer in my hand, Josh would be nagging me to sing.

SF:  A couple songs got bounced around – Heart Shaped Box, Jewel, Sublime, we bonded over Brandi Carlile – what style do you prefer to sing? Do you lean more to a certain genre?

JS:  There’s no certain style that I’m partial to. Whatever I connect with and have some sort of emotional attachment with is going to end up on the playlist.

SF:  I know there’s a cd or mixtape or something of the sort floating around with a few of your friends – how did that come about and do you intend to make more music?

JS:  There are a few things floating around that Kat an I have recorded. Most of which can be found on [friend’s] computers. Mostly they’re the songs we’ve written and I intend to do a lot more in the future!

SF:  I would think that traveling makes for some great music! Did you play at all in Alaska? What’s the most random place you’ve played?

JS:  You would think that being in Alaska was inspiring but I was pretty miserable there. It was always so dreary and I missed my family and friends. I thought I would be more likely to find myself so far away but I came to realize that what defines me as a person are the people I love and surround myself with.

SF: Do you just play for friends or should I expect to see you singing on a stage sometime soon?

JS:  When we finally get a set together you can bet your ass you’ll see me on a stage. I’ll probably be pissing my pants from nerves but I’ll be there!

SF:  What touches me most about singing, vocally, isn’t someone’s range, what high notes they can hit, but if they can make me feel something. If their music is not something external that they experience, but something internal they encompass. Your voice has that emotion factor. Where do you think that comes from? And I’m not asking you to answer on behalf of every artists, but personally for you, how do you feel what you sing, or – sing what you feel?

JS:  First of all, thank you. I don’t really analyze the emotion that I get from singing. I simply know that it’s a release for me that feels better than anything I’ve ever known. I don’t try to feel it, I just do.

Julie Skedel on Facebook

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