Tag Archive: Underbelly

What’s The Buzz ?

Review originally posted 2012 http://www.fatea-records.co.uk/magazine/HannahJudson.html

Hannah Judson
Album: Underbelly
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.hannahjudson.com
Hannah Judson is an American living in Paris, well to be more precise, Hannah Judson is an American singer/songwriter living in Paris. It’s an important distinction because whilst there is a feeling that the French consider themselves culturally and artistic superior to the upstarts from the New World, there has always been scope to embrace artists of all nationalities and to take them to their heart, if not actually give them airplay.

Judson helps her case enormously by writing songs that walk on a number of different levels and also which capture that idea of an artist genuinely looking to try and understand the world that the people of her adopted country inhabit and how it differs from her own.

“Underbelly” has been out for a year or so in both the US and France, but is really only just starting to break into the consciousness over here, which is a good thing, because it’s a strong album in its own right before you even start adding the cross cultural dynamic.

At its heart, “Underbelly” is an album that runs the gamut between country and Americana, but as the name implies, it’s also an album that takes a glance at the life going on around the writer, at both a social level and a political level to create the impression of an artist with a genuine thirst for knowledge and experience.

The album is sung in English, but there’s some phrases that come across in the recording that let you know without any doubt, that Hannah Judson is the sort of artists that would do her best to go native so as to really express the best, and worst, a culture can throw at you..

The result is a very cosmopolitan album, one that does a really good balancing act to ensure that it stays fresh along it’s eleven track length. Judson herself appear to get a real sense of the world around her and turn the experiences into thought provoking, well thought out songs and whilst “Underbelly” my not be a full expose of life and love, it does sometimes venture into a world of discovery and thinking.

Neil King

What’s The Buzz ?

Spring Forward and The Kennedys by Hannah Judson

HJ with Pete and Maura Kennedy and Phil Cartwright of Horizon Vu Music.
Horizon Vu Music organized a great show at OPA (Bastille) on Saturday night with me HJ, Tarah Who? and The Kennedy’s.  If you haven’t come across Pete and Maura Kennedy yet, I recommend more than a click and a listen, but you can start here. This talented

Hannah Judson, Maura Kennedy, Pete Kennedy, Phil Cartwright

Hannah Judson, Maura Kennedy, Pete Kennedy, Phil Cartwright

and engaging duo from New York follow a rigorous touring and production schedule, fortunately for their loyal and large fan base. They were just coming off tour with Nanci Griffith in the UK, and came to Paris for a few days to play a show and soak up some beautiful days along the Seine.
Underbelly is now on regular rotation on New Driven Radio. The  show airs Tuesday evenings 8-midnight (eastern time) on 89.1 WBCX and is streamed internationally at: www.Brenau.edu/wbcx.

Read more from Hannah Judson at http://hannahjudson.wordpress.com/

Maïtha Babajee

Born in Brunswick Maine USA, Hannah Judson began performing in alt-rock bands in Chicago USA in the 90s. She played in major clubs, performing original music, and recorded with various groups. These years were loud and electric.

In the late 90s while expecting her daughter, she pulled out her acoustic guitar and wrote an album, much more pensive, quiet, & lush. She recorded this album “Apollo” with Brian Burkhart and together they formed Kite Club. This was a turning point in her writing, away from louder, more loaded songs, to a slower beat and more pensive exploration of the world around her. She has been in France since 2005.

Hannah Judson

Hannah Judson

Can you describe Hannah ?

HJ: Dumb blonde does not apply. Optimistic, creative, resourceful. Likes periwinkle, cowboy boots, wikipedia. I really like making things, and working with what I have. I keep a notebook, and collect words, ideas, metaphors, and images. I also have a digital mp3 recorder on my iphone, and I collect song ideas while I am jogging, and running errands. I am always working on new songs. Not all of them make it to a live performance, but the process is a lot like gardening. Ideas are planted, and you watch each one to see how it grows.  And you do a lot of weeding.

Your last project?

HJ: This year has been busy. This spring I released my first CD in 7 years. I supported the release with a 16 concert series at Les Décharguers in the first arrondissement in Paris. I worked with 2 other musicians, Serge Bencissou and Michel Esquelin. We performed the songs from the CD, and also wrote a couple new ones along the way. We met a lot of people during the shows, and our set and working style evolved. I look forward to playing with the band again soon.

Why Underbelly?

HJ: “Underbelly” is a series of songs I wrote in France, but many of them are looking back across the Atlantic. “Underbelly” meansthe dark, underside of something. I like the word because is also sort of feminine in a gritty way. The songs on “Underbelly” are both critical and romantic. They tell stories of places and events, both personal and in the news. Writing “Underbelly” was part of the process of understanding and letting go of my former life in the U.S.

Next project?

HJ: I am writing another CD now. It is much more grounded in France. It is about love and food. Well, I haven’t written the food songs yet, so maybe it is just about love.

Outside of music, what does Hannah do?

HJ: I always have a book I am reading. I look at maps and plan trips. I grew tomatoes this summer, and now I prepare a tomato dish with every meal. I try to run a marathon every year. I have run 6 marathons so far. Although recently I decided I should run less and drink more. Life is short.

Where can we find you?

HJ: You can keep track of me at www.hannahjudson.com. You can buy my record at www.cdbaby.com/cd/hannahjudson, and on amazon, itunes, and many other digital distributors. Of course,  you can find me at SHOP HorizonVU Music http://blog.horizonvumusic.com/?page_id=4023.

See Hannah Judson on 17 November
O’Sullivan’s Rebel Bar, Rebel Bar
10 rue des Lombards
Paris, 75004

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