From enthusiastic fan to the doorstep of fame? It may seem too good to be true, but that’s the story of Julie Rhodes fairytale entré into the music industry. She was singing along to artist Jonah Tolchin’s tunes at an intimate house show, and Tolchin felt the spark of untapped potential. Soon enough, he became Rhodes’ mentor, encouraging her to develop her songwriting and performance skills, and less than two years from that fateful night, she’s preparing for the February 26th release of her debut album, Bound To Meet The Devil, which she recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals.
Today, Elmore is premiering a track from her upcoming release, “Key Won’t Unlock My Door.” Rhodes introduces the track with an anecdote about her powerful creative dynamic with fellow artist Danny Roaman. ““Key Won’t Unlock My Door” is a song that Danny Roaman and I wrote on our last night of tracking for Bound to Meet the Devil. Danny and I hadn’t known each other for very long at that point, but since day one of playing music with him, we had an incredible musical chemistry. He had been playing around on this beautiful National resonator here and there throughout the week, and I thought, “we gotta do a collaboration on this record.” He came to me with this riff he had been working on, and the title “Your Key Won’t Unlock My Door”… After about 30 minutes, we had this song written about a cheatin’ man and woman that just won’t stand for it anymore. We loved the idea of having this song completely unadulterated, so we ended up recording the track live into one microphone in a little cabin outside the studio in the middle of the woods. It came out just as raw and real as we hoped it would.”
Indeed, the track feels gritty and emotionally raw, but also joyful in its successful spontaneity, from the opening giggles to the final words on the track, mic still running, “that was it, man.” Rhodes shines on the track; her raspy bravado feels effortless, and she showcases a dazzling low range that carries the anger of the track: “I’ll get my pistol to settle the score, I’ll turn this porch into a killing floor. You ain’t comin’ in boy, I know where you been.” Roaman complements Rhodes’ pipes in their lovelorn back and forth, but doesn’t overshadow her, even remaining a more distant voice in the track’s production. As a whole, with its harmonica wail and simple, steady guitar and tambourine pulse it feels like a piece out of time, a lost blues standard for a new generation.
Give the track a listen below, and stay on the lookout for Bound To Meet The Devil in February.