Julia Jacklin


It’s hard to believe Julia Jacklin is from the Blue Mountains in Australia; it’s much easier to believe that she’s from Nashville or Austin, or anywhere in the deep South of America. You see, Jacklin is a bit of an alt-country superstar, and when she sings she sounds for all the money in the world like she grew up hollering country standards on the front porch of a wooden house in a little town in Texas. That illusion is only shattered when she speaks to the audience in a broad Aussie accent, telling us that the gorgeous ‘LA Dream’ was written whilst she was backpacking around America, where she fell for a guy she’d spent just 5 days with, “and he moved to Australia for me…surprisingly those 5 days didn’t work out in the long run,” she deadpans endearingly.

Endearing is a good word to describe Jacklin. On stage with a guitarist, bassist and a drummer (who, first time in the Northern Hemisphere, is worse for wear and has sworn off booze for the rest of his life – “like that’ll happen, eh”, Jacklin teases), with Jacklin herself also wielding a guitar and that voice. Oh, that voice. On the opening three tracks she’s in full on country-rocker mode, with ‘Leadlight’, ‘Cold Caller’ and ‘Coming of Age’ all hitting hard, her voice both angelic and old beyond her years (she’s just 27). But it’s when the band depart and leave her solo for ‘LA Dreams’ that it really comes into its own. Spotlighted, eyes closed, gently strumming her electric guitar, she’s utterly captivating as she sings of her doomed San Francisco romance. “Now I’m lying broken, like a dog after a fight, I guess I wasn’t made for your life” are the lines ringing out above the mesmerised heads of the crowd.

She repeats the trick towards the end of the night, playing the title track from her only album Don’t Let The Kids Win, which is the closest she comes to sounding like her compatriot Courtney Barnett, her lyrics shot with humour: “Don’t let the kids win, just let them fall, don’t want them growing up thinking two year olds are good at playing basketball,” before shattering you with “don’t let your grandmother die while you’re away, a cheap trip to Thailand isn’t going to make up for not saying goodbye.”

She treats us to some new songs: ‘Good Guy’ and ‘That’s Why I Love You!’, the latter a full rock and roller that gets the crowd shuffling along. Her latest release, a double a-side, is represented by ‘Eastwick’, which might be the best thing she’s written so far. She claims it came to her the only time she’d ever watched Dancing With the Stars, Australia’s version of Strictly, to which someone from the crowd shouts, “my mum loves that…it’s shit”, which she giggles at and agrees with. ‘Eastwick’ is such a brilliant piece of song writing, I implore you to seek it out immediately, and live it doesn’t disappoint either.

After a brief sojourn off stage, the band return with Jacklin for an extended ‘Hay Plain’, which starts off as a gorgeous solo effort before hurtling into a wig out, all four musicians rocking out in a triumphant finale. Jacklin told us earlier that this was the final leg of touring to support her debut album, so if she never makes a record again this’ll be the last time we’ll ever see her; said with a wry smile, I doubt very much she won’t be round these parts again with another superb slice of Aussie-alt-country, a new genre of which she is very much the superstar.

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