black and white photo of Julie Loyd bent over a guitar
Photo by Julie Loyd

Julie Loyd in Sunnyvale

Some days are simply special. And so was this day in the Bay Area, in which I got to climb with Alyssa and Stacey at Planet Granite in Belmont (including making it up my very first 5.12a!); run 8 beautifully wooded miles with Alyssa in Woodside; and bike 13 dark miles to Adam’s home in Santa Clara. As if all of this wasn’t fun enough, then my friend Pin-pin and I went to a house concert featuring one of my favorite singers, Julie Loyd!

Who is Julie Loyd, you may ask. She is often compared to Ani DiFranco, but is more animated on stage (kicking while strumming the guitar, etc.) and her lyrics are a bit less, um, bitter. She also prefers women over guys, but I suppose I can’t blame her. In any case, it was a real treat to see her AGAIN (she came to Fort Collins twice; she said she even recognized me!), and this time, really up close and personal, in the living room of Paul Schreiber‘s house in Sunnyvale, CA.

One benefit of performing in such an intimate venue is that her music was unspoiled by amps, speakers, and other electronic aids. It was just Julie’s dynamic voice and her amazing acoustic guitar. As Julie likes to say, “Just because I’m playing an acoustic guitar doesn’t mean I’m going to be singing about the mountains-and if I am, I’m singing loud.” And though she usually is playing loud and prefers the fast songs over the slower ones, she can sing quietly too (before exploding with heart-shaking volume). As Pin-pin remarked, “She has incredible volume control!”

I was especially happy that she played all of my favorites including The Last Goodbye, The Waiting Room, Tuesday to Tuesday, and Normal. She also played some new numbers I had not heard of before, including nice ballads entitled Birthday Song and Being Home (part of a new personal genre of Julie’s that she calls “changing of the seasons.”) She also played a cover song (“the only cover song I know,” she said), but I forget the title!

Almost equaling her musical talent was her ability to quip jokes along with personal anecdotes about what inspired the lyrics for particular songs, including:

  • Tuesday to Tuesday: The part about “my friend spent the night in the bathroom with the cowboy again” was inspired by her roommate in New York City while she was attending NYU. Apparently, the roommate was seen hanging around with a dude in a cowboy hat and since the bedroom was taken, they spent it in the bathroom…
  • The Big Goodbye: From this song, she “learned not to write the break-up song before the breakup!”
  • The Waiting Room: Julie was hanging out in Asheville, NC in the gay/lesbian section of a bookstore and read in a book, “We are 10 million women waiting for someone to ask us to play”—a quote that made it into the lyrics of this song.
  • Normal: Inspired by her little sister who had ADD.

There were also a couple of songs that were inspired by (or mentions) her father. Her dad was a former Methodist minister who eventually quit in the 80s to do some work in the computer industry. “When I asked him why he left the church,” Julie told us, “he replied, ‘You know, I didn’t really believe in that stuff.'” (This elicited laughter from the audience.) “When I was in Salt Lake City last week, no one thought that was funny,” she added to more laughter.

I think she liked us.

black and white photo of Julie Loyd bent over a guitar
Photo by Julie Loyd
I love Julie Loyd's music.