Julien Baker to share his reflective music during the Columbus stop
Julien Boulanger rose to prominence for writing songs examining his life and questioning his faith while simply accompanying himself on guitar and piano.
With his latest album, “Little Oblivions”, Baker continues his self-examination, but expands to include other musicians in the mix. His current performance, which includes a stop at Newport Music Hall September 28 is the first time she has toured playing her own music with a band.
“I always imagined my job would be to play in a band,” said Baker, 25, speaking from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “And then I put out a very sparse record, and I learned to play it that way. I don’t know why, but I felt that since it was the embodiment of my music that was under my name and not under a band’s name, I felt like I had to be consistent with her.
Work on many projects
In addition to touring solo, Baker has also performed more recently with the indie-rock supergroup boygenius, where she joined Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, each musician playing a set and then the three coming together to perform at the end of each concert.
“It was a little different because it wasn’t my group. It was just a very different dynamic than playing with a band that you rehearsed a lot with.
Baker learned a lot by making two albums on her own.
“There is something very precious about working this way for so long, with a limited palette. But I had to learn not to resist change, like if I change my musical tastes or change the way I operate, people will stop loving my music, ”she said.
Return to college and graduation diploma
She accomplished this by moving away from music for a while. After four years of making albums and touring, she returned to college in the fall semester of 2019 to complete a degree in English at Middle Tennessee State University.
“And my life didn’t fall apart when I wasn’t performing on stage every day or doing interviews every day,” she said.
It wasn’t necessarily easy in college.
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“I had put off studying British literature the whole time I was in school. And then I quit the tour, and came back and was taking an overload to finish in one semester because I thought I was going to go on tour again. I had to take “Beowulf” and “Canterbury Tales“At the same time as Dickens, and it was the worst thing ever,” she said.
By the end of school, the pandemic had started and this tour had been postponed.
Instead, she worked on the complex and thoughtful “Little Oblivions”.
As she did so, she said, “I just didn’t want to forbid myself. There are a lot of moving parts in the songs. There’s a lot going on in terms of production and arrangement.
A friend to Columbus
“Little Oblivions” has a connection with Columbus. The album’s first single, “Faith Healer” was presented to the world with an essay by the Columbus author, poet and essayist. Hanif Abdurraqib, whose writing concludes: “Thank you, Julien, for this comfort. This glass box through which a person could better see their own grief. This realm of little shards of sun, stumbling to disrupt the darkness.
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Abdurraqib plans to attend the concert in Columbus.
“I admire her work and the way she navigates the world. I feel like I’m learning from her open-mindedness and vulnerability, and how she’s able to articulate those things while still keeping a part of herself to herself.
“She’s such an effective storyteller, who is able to analyze a really rich thicket of feelings and distill it down to those three to five minute blocks.”
Baker has known Abdurraqib for years.
“Oddly enough, I met Hanif at a Christian writing conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I was 19,” she said. “I think there is something in Hanif’s writings about music and his poetry that is very spiritual. I think it was something I needed, oddly enough, to go to Calvin College in mid Michigan and meet Hanif and see him play. I learned a lot from him, although we probably haven’t spent 24 hours in the same room in all of our years knowing each other.
In one look
Julien Baker will perform at 7 p.m. on September 28 at Newport Music Hall, 1722 N. High St. Tickets are $ 22. Participants must wear masks and provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the show. For more information call 614-461-5483 or visit promowestlive.com.