After an early life divided equally between ecstatic experiences on her grandparent’s country estate and a shocking amount of personal loss, Juliana MacDowell emerged with a great deal of anxiety, which her love of music helped her battle.
She is planning the release of her second studio album, “Leaving Home,” produced by British producer-turned Key West studio owner, Ian Shaw, who has worked with Primal Scream, The Mekons, The Platters, Super Furry Animals and Nick Heyward (Haircut 100) over the years. It will be released by the new indie label, Conch Town Music on March 13th, and features players including guitarist Matt Backer (Elton John, Julian Lennon), keyboardist Ericson Holt (The Mavericks) and Claire Finlay (Playing for Change project) contributed bass and backing vocals. Her songwriting explores relationships and the sharp emotional contrasts that are part of the human condition. She reflects, “My heart has known some very dark moments. But there is always the light to counter the dark. We all have those times when the balance is off and we endure more dark days than light ones.”
Splitting her time between Virginia and Key West, MacDowell performs frequently while juggling songwriting and the myriad tasks of promoting a band. She also squeezes in the occasional house renovation job – her career and passion of choice before coming to music as a profession. “It feels as though design, renovations, writing songs and singing all come from the same well of creativity, which gives me a great deal of joy.”
Inspired by her great grandfather, who played numerous instruments and composed music, Juliana began singing at an early age, exploring her musicality in their vast music room and in the barn on their family farm, which she remembers as having incredible acoustics.
Juliana never gave serious consideration to a career in music. Facing insecurities about her musical prowess and stage fright, she reserved her participation to background roles in church singing groups. She also channeled her creativity into a successful house renovation career. “Performing for others was a dream I never thought I’d realize due to the anxiety that held me back for so long. But I’m living my dream right now. And it doesn’t matter how large or how small the stage, as long as I’m connecting with people through music, I’m happy. Music itself is healing, whether we are doing the playing, or the listening; it’s all good.”
In 2012, Joey Bauer of Joey and the Waitress Band encountered Juliana at her husband’s brew pub and invited her to join his band – a move that fueled her emergence as a solo artist in 2014. “I’m often asked by those who stumble on my music now, ‘where have you been all of these years?’ With the generous support of family, friends and fans, things just keep falling into place.”
Juliana’s guest appearances in C.W. Colt’s Songwriter Concert Series’ got her noticed on the Southernmost music scene. ”I am exceedingly blessed to be able to spend time in Key West with incredible musicians and a fabulous producer who inspire me.”
Juliana’s first full length CD, “Take Me Away,” was produced by WAMA award-winning producer Marco Delmar and contains tracks by legendary bassist, Freebo (Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr); mandolinist Matt Cartsonis (Warren Zevon); guitarist Matt Backer (Elton John, Julian Lennon) and drummer, Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident) among others. After Shaw heard Juliana on the radio, he invited her to record with him. Their creative association flowered during the recording of the new album “Leaving Home.”
February 15 Barns of Roseville Berryville, VA
February 23 Sunday Ramble Concert Series, Key West Theater Key West, FL
March 18th CD Release Party at The Back Stage at Key West Theater Key West, FL
March 17th The Back Room at Key West Theater Key West, FL
March 28 Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards Hamilton, VA
April 11 Dive Bar Washington, DC