The Gladstone has long been a friend to emerging artists in Toronto and we’re excited to soon feature our love of emerging musical talent. Starting June 1st, we’re setting the stage for a different kind of evening in the Melody Bar. In partnership with Mill Street, we’re looking forward to bringing a more distinct sound here with a music series each week. Kicking things off will be Julie Arsenault, Evan Cartwright and Ryokan who will each be playing a set starting at 8pm sharp. As Julie Arsenault just released an album, ‘Softness,’ we thought we’d tell you a little bit more about one of our most highly anticipated upcoming acts!
Julie Arsenault is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter. Her newly released ‘Softness,’ maintains an inimitable strength, an ethereal listen that is impossible to tune out. The EP offers a new depth and departure from her first full-length album, while keeping her signature authenticity intact. This quiet, powerful tribute to the human spirit shows a confidence in letting her melodies and voice carry the music.
Arsenault’s vocal delivery is both understated and disarming. There is a feeling of nostalgia throughout the work, at times reminiscent of Angel Olsen’s early days. Her lyrics hold a stark intimacy with a tender empathy at their core. ‘Softness’ poses questions we all think about – bracing truths and human vulnerability. “Am I a bad person, I promise I’m learning, I promise I’ll try” she opines in the opening track ‘Chain’ with subtle orchestration in the background. The composition is simple, allowing her voice to really resonate, with the felicitous use of violin played by Kinley Dowling of Hey Rosetta to match the tone.
The album is earnest and determined to make you feel less alone. In ‘Hit the Breaks’ Arsenault sings, “I will steer and protect and remind you dear that you deserve respect,” touching something universally human and delivering hope. The more quiet and impactful moments of the album offer a calm as Julie digs into soulful wisdom exploring the humanity we all share and enveloping us in the warmth of her voice. The album swells into a culminating collage of sound on ‘Monsters’ and closes with the title track ‘Softness” which feels like a love song about being alive.
All in all ‘Softness’ is a masterfully crafted album infused with the supernatural beauty of Arsenault’s vocal range showing us just what Arsenault is capable of, and we’re happy to be along for the ride as she continues to softly make her mark.