Americana singer-songwriter Juliana MacDowell‘s music career is as much a surprise to her, as to anyone. “It’s true that I just sort of fell into this business, but I’m pretty sure I was whistling in the womb, and I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember.” A tumultuous childhood, marred by loss and periodic separation from her parents prompted Juliana to seek consolation in music.
“Music evokes the happiest memories of life on my grandfather’s farm, where I sang to the swallows in a cavernous barn and whistled to winged warblers in the forest.”
Piano became a close companion to Juliana at a young age after her great-grandfather placed her on the bench of his 1939 Steinway. Important musical influences include Elton John, Sting, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, and Peter Gabriel. But Juliana says it was her great-grandfather, Otis Beall Kent, who planted the seed for her love of music.
That seed continues to sprout as Juliana has released the official music video for “I Won’t Let Go“. The visuals for the song were released in advance of her upcoming new album, “Big Old Yellow Moon”, scheduled for launch later this spring.
“Big Old Yellow Moon”, Juliana’s third album, contains an impressively diverse collection of mini-masterpieces ranging from beguiling ballads to rootsy pop-country to ‘y’allternative’ songs. The album’s title track offers a palatable pairing of 1940s-style lilting melodies with an island-inspired motif. The album was recorded in Music Row’s famed Ocean Way studios where greats like Blake Shelton have recorded and “Big Old Yellow Moon” features top shelf session players like keyboardist, Jimmy Nichols (Carrie Underwood) and guitarist, Chris Leuzinger (Garth Brooks).
“Big Old Yellow Moon” took Juliana to Nashville to work with legendary producer, Bil VornDick, who passed away unexpectedly before the album was completed. Bil was a legendary music producer / engineer renowned for his recording-studio skills in Americana, bluegrass, folk, and acoustic music.
During his career, VornDick had worked on albums that earned him more than forty grammy nominations and nine wins. “I enjoyed Bil’s relaxed approach to recording. He was very organic about it and liked to get to know his artists really well – find out what makes them tick. His process was remarkable – he paid attention to every minute detail, and it was a blast working with a true production and engineering genius.” As Big Old Yellow Moon was the last album VornDick worked on, the album is dedicated in loving memory to the enormous personality and talent of Bil VornDick.
Juliana’s latest release from the album, “I Won’t Let Go” is a timely, soul-piercing ballad – an invitation to walk through anxiety, fear, and turmoil to the other side where hope and peace prevail. British Indie producer, Ian Shaw, (Key West, FL) completed the work in 2023, with mastering performed by Denis Blackham. “I Won’t Let Go” was co-written by Thomas Plunkett and Juliana MacDowell at Phil Madeira’s Mercyland Songwriter Retreat in Hot Springs, NC. The haunting and inspiring music video was shot on location at Williams Hall, Key West, FL by Marky Pierson, WonderDog Studios, and co-produced by Helen Kruger, Northern Virginia.\
Working with the best-of-the-best has been a part of Juliana’s path since the beginning. Previously, her live performance on WKYZ’s Pirate Radio caught the ear of British producer, Ian Shaw, with whom she recorded her second album, “Leaving Home“.
Shaw also arranged for co-writing sessions with British Pop-Star, Nick Heyward (Haircut 100). Juliana has also played with legendary bassist and award-winning singer-songwriter, FREEBO (Bonnie Raitt, 10 yrs; CSN; Ringo Starr…) and shared the stage with Jon Carroll (Starland Vocal Band) and Michael Clem (Eddie from Ohio) in Justin Trawick’s “The 9.”
Her first full length CD, “Take Me Away,” was produced by WAMA award-winning producer, Marco Delmar, and contained tracks by Freebo; mandolin player, Matt Cartsonis (Warren Zevon; John McEuen); guitarist, Matt Backer (Elton John, Cher, Julian Lennon); drummer, Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident. EOTO…); esteemed D.C. players, Ken Barnum, Nathaniel Davis and more.
Juliana loves to play charity gigs and divides her time between her home in Western Loudoun County, Virginia and Key West, Florida. “I have been monumentally blessed in my life with both the good and the bad. The former, providing the encouragement to stay in forward motion, and the latter refining the soul. It’s been a wild ride so far and I’m excited to see what’s just around the bend.”