“Even the darkest night ends in a sunrise”-Julia Autumn Ford
JULIA AUTUMN FORD: A New Light in Northwest Connecticut
By J. Timothy Quirk
The Desultory Theatre Club at the Morrison Hardware Building was packed and I showed up after the designated time of 8pm so I stood in the back as Tracy Walton played “Walls”, one of my favorites from the album “If I Ever Get Away”. Keith Paul, the artistic director of the Theatre Club, graciously offered me a chair but I waited until a natural intermission in the show for my chance to scoot toward a seat on the side. Photographers and videographers respectfully and unobtrusively found perfect positions just off stage to preserve the experience as Tracy gave shout outs to fellow singer Krizta Moon and other members of the audience.
Walton played a Tom Waits song and a few more original songs but in all of his time on stage, the accomplished performer made sure everyone knew that the star of the night would be coming on stage next…Julia Autumn Ford.
Julia Autumn Ford commanded the stage, buffeted by a supportive home-town audience. The event was a unique “kickstarter’ campaign where individuals who paid their 25 dollar a ticket received a concert and a pre-order of the EP. This was Ford’s very first headlining concert and those who were there will be able to say were a part of what I expect to be a meteoric rise of this 17 year old singer/songwriter. I believe in the raw talent exhibited on stage and know that she will benefit from the professional stewardship of Tracy Walton. Her voice is exceptionally strong, reminiscent in some ways of a young Sinead O’Connor, hitting the high notes with ease, and allowing her vocal intonations to carry emotion and inflection of her work. The songs are personal and heartfelt and many have a playful quality to them. She won contests at Infinity Music Hall. She will win many accolades in the years to come. We are fortunate to be able to see how her musical story unfolds.
(video filmed/edited by Lüke Haughwøut at Desultory Theatre-used in this post with permission)
This much is entirely true: I like the song “Goodbye” more than any song currently being played on commercial radio. It has an upbeat Jason Mraz sound (clearly he’s an influence in her work-it is what inspired her to pick up and learn the guitar in the first place) and engaging lyrics. Produced by Tracy Walton (the entire EP is being produced by Walton) we watched the premiere of the video before Ford and Walton played it live for us. The video is fun and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some shots of Torrington in the background, although it should be noted there is one word in the song and one moment in the video that may need to have an alternate shot and I’m assuming they will create a “radio friendly” version of the song created. They don’t have to create one, but my belief is that this particular song has the ability to reach far beyond a regional audience and can receive radio play if there is a radio friendly version of it.
If there are other opportunities to support Julia Autumn Ford, I encourage you to do so. Go to facebook and LIKE her music page. If there’s a concert or another kickstarter, be a part of it. Northwest Connecticut will be known because of the talent that IS here, talent that will serve as a magnet, attracting similar talent into the community. Northwest CT might become a new Nashville of the singer/songwriter experience as singers such as RC Fullerton, Jay Roberts, Sarah Barrios and many others actively engage in the community and lend their voice to the musical landscape.
At the end of the show, Tracy Walton and Julia Autumn Ford sang a fun, heartfelt thank you to Keith Paul and the Desultory Theatre. This unique way to end the show demonstrated that Desultory Theatre is an important focal point in the artistic community in northwest Connecticut. We are lucky this venue is here to bring experiences like this to Torrington and provide opportunities for singers like Julia Autumn Ford at the start of their careers. Should it eventually occur that Ford becomes a musical guest on a future Saturday Night Live show some years from now, and she stands on stage in NYC, we will know that her first headlining stage experience was right here in Torrington and we will all be proud of her success because the community supported her on her journey.
As I left the show and stepped into the Torrington night, I saw a young couple holding hands as they walked past the Five Points Arts Gallery. The lights were on in the Gallery as members there were holding a meeting amid the glorious art they showcase. Across the street the Performance Hub was showing signs of moving closer and closer to opening and becoming that cornerstone of the Five Points arts district as it is destined to become. The light from the Warner Marquee shone brightly as a beacon in the night sky but no marquee could shine as nearly as bright as the bright smile of a young performer who shared her talent tonight with her friends, family and fans, singing words of wisdom that “even the darkest night ends in a sunrise”.