Julie Christensen’s story is woven into decades of the fabric of underground and roots rock ’n roll. She co-fronted post-punk rockers Divine Horsemen and is a veteran of Leonard Cohen's bands (and the documentary Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man.) A Sad Clown (March 16, 2018) is an acoustic yet gritty offering of her own music and a few gems by fellow East Nashville friends Tim Easton and Darrin Bradbury; and a stunning interpretation of Tom Waits’ "Hold On" that only Julie can deliver. A Sad Clown is her second album as a Nashville resident with her new Stone Cupid bandmates - regulars Sergio Webb, Chris Tench, Steve Latanation – and Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples) on bass, who also produced Julie’s first record with the band, The Cardinal (2016).
Christensen has shared concert bills and friendships with some of the greats who still populate Americana/Roots and Rock today, like Exene Cervenka and John Doe of X, Dave Alvin of The Blasters, Chuck Prophet, Peter Case, Johnette Napolitano, and Alejandro Escovedo. These and other artists used her talents in the studio - Van Dyke Parks, Steve Wynn, Iggy Pop, PiL, and more. Todd Rundgren produced her major label debut and in the book, “The Greatest Music Never Sold,” Rundgren calls it “The Female Sgt. Pepper.” Moving from LA to Ojai, CA and family life, Julie made five independent albums utilizing the talents of her friends, a stellar list of musicians including Karen Hammack, who also played with fellow Cohen singer Perla Batalla, Robben Ford, (Julie returning the favor on a couple of his albums,) Greg Leisz, (who plays on most of Bill Frisell and Lucinda Williams’ records,) Tom Lackner and Bill Flores (Jeff Bridges,) Jim Christie (Merle Haggard, Lucinda, Dwight Yoakum), and Turmes.
Christensen first met Leonard Cohen’s band Austinites in 1979 and often sat in during the 80s, which included Cohen’s music director Roscoe Beck. In 1988 Cohen was looking for a singer and Beck recommended Julie for an audition. But it was the lunch on an early spring day with Cohen and Beck where she and Leonard began a musical and true friendship. She sang and toured extensively with Leonard Cohen over a six-year period. From 2003-2006, Christensen was asked to sing lead and backup in Hal Willner’s “Came So Far For Beauty” concerts alongside Nick Cave, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Linda Thompson, and Antony Hegarty. The 2005 Sydney shows became the feature documentary “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” which relaunched Leonard’s career. At a 2006 show Julie performed “Joan Of Arc” with Lou Reed, one she had done often with Cohen.
In January 2016 long-time friend Alejandro Escovedo invited Julie to sing at his special Leonard Cohen Influence Evening at ACL at the Moody Theatre in Austin. Coming fall 2018, Julie will be inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in September in the “Women Who Rock” category, an honor she will share with 2015 inductee Wanda Jackson; and in October, members of Divine Horsemen including Julie and Chris D reunite for a limited edition West Coast tour.
On A Sad Clown Julie tells her stories, “conveying the beauty of suffering with a subtlety” that has become her signature, no matter what genre they are sang in. A Sad Clown is about striding into her own spotlight, focusing some attention on what’s the center of that light, and taking a triumphant bow.
"Her swagger is true to her rebellious punk-rock roots, and refined through working with the likes of Cohen, Iggy Pop, Public Image Limited” - No Depression
"It is her ability to sing with conviction in a variety of approaches that made her extraordinary to me." - Todd Rundgren (produced Julie’s debut record )
“Julie Christensen’s music is deep and wide and speaks of experience. Her voice has amazing range, her own songs are little gems, her choice in material is assured. Wherever she is taking you, you’ll want to go.” – Jeff Turmes (Mavis Staples)
"One of the truer singers you’ll ever hear — straight up, no mannerisms, perfect taste; recognize how she could sing with both Leonard Cohen and Chris D." - LA WEEKLY
"Searing resolve. Call her a permanent rebel, or maybe a singer on a march, but either way Julie Christensen continues to search for clues wherever the music takes her. What a ride."-Bill Bentley, author, Smithsonian Rock and Roll