It takes the crowd at the Bowery Poetry Club some moments to figure out just what Julia Easterlin is up to on stage. She stands alone, in front of a looping machine, humming into the microphone, then plays back the sound. She adds another vocal tone, and then some others, harmonizing with herself. She snaps her fingers and claps her hands into the machine, all the while playing back the progress that starts to sound like she’s surrounded by backing vocalists and a rhythm section. But, still there is only Julia and her looping machine. The audience is mesmerized. Julia sings her original songs to the tracks she creates, sometimes playing guitar. Her sound ranges from jazz to roots to pop. Her cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” toward the end of the set is fun, but the real magic is watching her unwrap her songs, layer by layer, on the looping machine and discovering what she has in store with each of her own songs, like “Whiskey,” about her grandmother.
As a soundcheck was underway, Julia Easterlin spoke about the freedom of having a looping machine as a bandmate, and how she markets her music.