Julia Haile – Mark Dugan, Fringe Reviewer

It might be easy to miss Julia Haile’s Fringe show. It’s short (three songs over 12 minutes), and it’s spare (one singer, one guitar player), but don’t miss it. Haile’s popularity as a Kansas City singer is growing, and for good reason. She has a commanding, yet comfortable presence, and a voice one could never grow tired of. She’ll make you want to close your eyes and listen, but don’t. Watch her sing. She connects with her audience, with the camera, in a way that makes you feel like you’re the only one listening.

She starts her set with “Don’t Blame Me” and ends with “Let Your Love Down,” songs, for want of a better word, about relationships. Her presence, and her voice, evoke sorrow and hope at the same time. Maybe she lived these songs and maybe she didn’t – that may be too personal for the audience to know – but either way she sings with an emotional depth that rings true.

Sandwiched in the middle is “Revolution,” a call to action. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking this song arose from the Minneapolis murder of George Floyd, but it was written two months earlier, in March. There’s plenty of inspiration, of course, for a song like “Revolution,” and it will remain timely for the foreseeable future. And for the Fringe moment, it just adds to the emotional depth of Julia Haile’s writing and singing.

Watch this show. Listen to this show. And when KC Fringe and COVID19 are over, go find a place to hear Julia Haile sing in person. You won’t be sorry.