Being queer, Christian, and southern in a time where North Carolina’s controversial and discriminatory legislation has the musical community in a bind over the state, Julien Baker serves as a role model to fellow musicians and the queer community. Having grown up in Memphis, Tennessee with Christianity Baker has accepted her identity and continues to call the south her home. In an interview with Pitchfork she expressed her beliefs that the south has redeeming qualities and that those who are accepting and diverse have the responsibility to fight to fix the reputation of an oppressive hateful south.
Baker’s debut “Sprained Ankle” which came out last year has her nationally recognized. Through the album indy-folk singer songwriter digs into the deepest stretches of emotion with raw heart clenching songs of despair, faith, heart break, and hope. The title track “sprained ankle” takes listeners through her struggles of depression as she confesses “Wish I could write songs about anything other than death.” As her gorgeous vocals and picked guitars collides into soft strings and harmonizing vocals. Baker confronts her Christian faith in the track “Rejoyce” one of the most powerful tracks on the album. Beautiful acoustic guitar picks up as Julian raises her vocals proclaiming, “I think there’s a god and he hears either way when I rejoice and complain,” you can feel her connection to her faith and can’t help but feel uplifted at the same time in despair. The album closes with “go home” where haunting piano, distant strings, and Julian’s powerful clean vocals tell a tale of moving beyond heartbreak as she belches “ I’m tired of washing my hands God, I wanna go home.” The album will suck you in and take you on a ride of emotion, definitely one for sitting down, listening through and taking in with every inch of your soul. The album was recorded at Space bomb studio in Richmond, VA the same place Natalie Prass’s self-titled album and can be listened to here.