Julien Baker performs for sold-out Ladies Literary Club


Photo courtesy Calvin SAO

Tennessee singer-songwriter Julien Baker performed to an attentive, sold-out Ladies Literary Club last Thursday evening. The show was in support of her devastatingly emotional debut album “Sprained Ankle,” which came out last year.

Local duo, Nos Vemos, opened the evening. Their eclectic array of folk songs, as well as reimagined versions of songs from their primary band, The Soil and the Sun, perfectly set the mood with their quiet yet invocative spirit.

Following Nos Vemos, Julien Baker took the stage, where she performed every song from “Sprained Ankle,” as well as a few new songs. The stage featured just Baker and her guitar for most the set, with the piano being featured on a few songs at the end of the set.

The audience saw all of the album’s endearing qualities — its stark honesty, painful reflection and hopeful resolve — come to life as Baker tore through song after song. This emotional journey reached its climax in the final song, “Rejoice,” which Baker prefaced by saying the song was about being thankful for both the good things as well as the mistakes in life, as both make us who we are.

Julien Baker showcased the power that performance arts can have. The audience could not get enough, and Baker seemed genuinely flattered by the warm welcome. Following the conversation with the artist that ends each SAO show, Baker treated the audience to just one more song, a cover of the hymn “It is Well With My Soul,” a feeling both performer and audience felt as they left the venue that night.