Julie Peel

This song may not have even won my attention during a recent listening binge if my nose hadn’t been buried in a particular book. “Bastard Out of Carolina” by Dorothy Allison is that particularity. An insightful young lady, Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatwright narrates the novel, telling the story of growing up poor in the South amongst a colorful cast of aunts and uncles. The rhythm of the language is pure music, while Ruth Anne’s life is pure hell. Besides a couple aunts who come to her rescue, the closest thing that brings solace to Ruth Anne’s life is gospel music. Julie Peel doesn’t play gospel music in the traditional sense, but her soulful voice, and the deep strains of cello echo the yearnings of one searching for some sort of salvation. I assume Peel’s song “Unfold” is about the loss of a lover, but its lyrics and theme resonate acutely with Ruth Anne’s loss of motherly love. Even though that book and this song are filled with grief, discovering them together has been a pleasant harmonic convergence.

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