Juliane Gardner started her life in Brooklyn New York, however, when she was four her father decided to move them out of the big borough back to his hometown on the coast of Maine, it was then that a country girl was born. "My father's love of jazz would be my first major influence," Juliane recounts. "We used to spend countless hours playing along to the records from the Be-Bop era. It was common for me to hear the greats from Thelonious Monk to Dexter Gordon every day blasting from the living room stereo, these sounds became part of me."
Spending her youth growing up in a small community, she had the opportunity to join Cold Comfort Productions, a local summer stock theatre company that focused on musicals. By the age of nine, Juliane was featured in vocal solos. After being involved with the group for eight years, in classics such as Oliver, Oklahoma, and the Sound of Music, she was hooked and has loved performing ever since.
"When I look back, I was strongly influenced by contemporary pop/rock singers during my teens, however, while in a vocal jazz program in college, my jazz roots resurfaced. I became very interested in singing jazz. Some of my favorite vocalists were and still are: Carmen McRae, Johnny Hartman, Jon Hendricks, Ray Charles, Nina Simon, Cassandra Wilson, and of course Ella Fitzgerald."
"I think the two worlds of jazz and folk merged for me when I started listening to Joni Mitchell. I'll never forget where I was when I heard her version of "Good Bye Pork Pie Hat" (sung by Joni with lyrics she had written); it changed my whole outlook on what it meant to be a vocalist. All these new possibilities were open to me in terms of self-expression; here's a folk singer capturing her take on what it was like for black musicians during the 1940's and 50's as she puts it, "A bright star in a Dark Age, when the band stand had a thousand ways of refusing a black man admission, black musician" I heard this and was moved to tears. It would be years before I started playing the guitar and creating my own songs, but the seeds were planted that night."
Through out her college years Juliane joined and formed many groups, She fronted everything from Top 40 bands to Jazz Trios before shifting her focus to her own song writing. "I started listening to performers such as, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Martin Sexton, Patty Larkin, Patty Griffin, and Ani Difranco; it was that summer a friend lent me his guitar. I remember I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Ani's lyrics and the depth of Jeff's voice; I was instantly impressed with Ani's ability to put words together and started keeping a song journal. Probably the biggest turning point as writer was on a bus trip across country when I had many hours to capture my observations in lyrics. For me the motivation behind songwriting is truth telling and not being afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve."
Here are some highlights since Packsaddle Road was recorded...
Summer Highlights - Formed Shades of Blue Jazz Trio with Chris Poulin (guitar/flute) and Ezra Rugg (bass). We spent every Sunday afternoon from May to October entertaining the crowds in Bar Harbor on the patio of Rupununi's Restaurant. It was a bustling summer meeting folks from all over the world.
August 2009 - Shades of Blue was part of the 6th Annual Bar Harbor Jazz Festival!
September 09- Played a Maine Democratic Fundraiser Vaudeville Show at the Grand in Ellsworth. This was such a fun event filled with many laughs and even juggling and belly dancing! Leave it to Arnold Greenberg to combine such performers into one night!
Winter/Spring 2008-09, Juliane is finishing the final touches on her latest CD-
"You'll Find It When You're Not Looking" to be released by Summer 2009. It was a year
of great learning at Sunset House Studios, with the talents of six of Maine's finest musicians to help shape the songs.
Fall 2008 - Local radio station WERU held a benefit concert to celebrate their 20 year anniversary with headliner Noel Paul Stookey. It was an honor to share the stage and warm up the crowd with new songs- (but the icing on the cake, was hanging backstage talking with Noel about songwriting and playing songs for each other).
Summer 2008 - Juliane and Chris started the weekend festivities at the Shangra-La music festival hosted by Joel Raymond, held in Blue Hill, Maine.
Spring 2008, in April one of Juliane's songs off of her latest disc, was featured in the TV series "Men in Trees" on ABC. The song "Love and Comforting" - played in the background while the characters talked about the importance of trust and forgiveness. (It was a very surreal and exciting experience to hear one of my compositions on national TV.)
Summer and Fall 2007, Juliane enjoyed singing the jazz standards she grew up listening to, accompanied by guitarists, David Clarke and Christopher Poulin, on Friday nights at Stella's Jazz Club.
Spring 2007, "Save the Wild Lands", a fundraiser organized by local singer Shawn Mercer, gave Juliane the opportunity to sing in one of her favorite venues while helping to raise money for one of her beloved hiking spots, Great Pond Mt.
Jan of 2006, Juliane picked up her guitar and hit the road to Europe for five months to see new places and visit friends and family. In nine countries she played for friends and strangers from train stations to living rooms. A favorite memory was in Lithuania around the dinning room table at a friend's house, teaching 12 Lithuanians the words and melody to the spiritual, "I'll Fly Away".
November 9th 2005, Juliane was asked to open for legendary songwriter Jesse Winchester, a performer known for intelligent lyrics and smooth guitar arrangements. It was yet another great experience to perform for a receptive audience.
July-Dec. 2005, in collaboration with Carolyn Coe of Peninsula Peace and Justice, Juliane organized "Musical Chairs Coffee House and Open Mic", where amateurs and professionals shared their love of song and poetry.
July-Oct 2005, summer passed too quickly with and old friend and phenomenal singer/guitarist, Willy Kelly. It was just what the doctor ordered...lots of Blues...it's easy to become addicted to the sound of the pedal steel.
June 2005, 07, Juliane was selected to be involved with The Cassandra Project held in Portland Me, a weekend filled with new works by Maine women in the performing arts.
In May 2004, she organized a successful benefit called "Songwriters in the Round," an evening of song performed by four Maine songwriters, and a fiber art exhibit, "Embedded Quilts"; all the proceeds raised were given to a local Maine Peace and Justice organization.
March 2004, Juliane was given an "Honor Award" from the "Great American Songwriting Contest" for her song, "Sugar Grove" and placed as a semi-finalist in the contest for her work.
January 23rd 2004, Juliane had the opportunity to open for Chris Smither, a nationally known folk/blues artist. "It was such a positive experience, and a night I'll never forget," she says.
In the fall of 2003, "Accompany", an in dependent film company from New Hampshire used one of Juliane's songs "Time of Day" in their documentary on Castine. "It was so interesting for me to see the images and hear my songs supporting them, I hope to be involved with more projects like this in the future."
In September 2002, three of Juliane's songs from "Packsaddle Road" were used as part of the soundtrack in a four part MPBS TV series called "School Zones."
These days you can hear cuts from Juliane's disc- "Packsaddle Road" on WERU FM 89.9 (a community radio station in Orland, Maine and streaming on live on the web), and other stations throughout New England.
Both "Packsaddle Road" and "You'll Find it When You're Not Looking" are available for purchase through I Tunes, on CD Baby, stores locally, and through Juliane's website. To hear a sample from it or see where Juliane is performing next, go to julianegardner.net
These days you can hear cuts from Juliane's self-released CD's, "Packsaddle Road" and "You'll Find It When You're Not Looking" on WERU FM 89.9 (a community radio station in Orland, Maine and streaming live on the web), and other stations throughout New England. If you're not hearing it, call and request it!