Songs of reinvention and life and tomorrows.
Florence-born, now Austin-based, Giulia Millanta has produced for her seventh studio album a collection of songs almost of the dreamer, of searching, trying to determine whether the future will be better….we can all dream, can’t we? Millanta travels constantly as an artist, graduated in medicine (but subsequently never practiced, not for a single day), sings in four languages, and is a multi-instrumentalist, so she is a pretty smart cookie. And that smartness is reflected in the songs on ‘Tomorrow Is A Bird’.
Another smart move was to base herself in Austin, one of the music capitals of the world, with access to a host of quality musicians. ‘Tomorrow Is A Bird’ features interesting and excellent guitar work, including plenty of slide, courtesy of David Pulkingham, which is complemented by evocative cello and upright bass provided by Brian Standefer and Lindsay Greene, respectively. There are jazz, pop and blues influences all over the record, but this is predominantly a folk album. It is lyrically stimulating, the poetry of someone who truly sees when looking, creating songs of a well-travelled troubadour.
Steady opener ‘Castle In The Clouds’ warns of the impending boredom of life….”there is nothing left to dream / no castle in the clouds” but which builds to a positive conclusion….”and never say it’s too late”. Never. The title track has twangy heavily reverbed guitar and strings and a wry “oh, oh, oh, oh / what do you owe to yourself?”, while telling us to be free to fly away. More excellent reverbed guitar leads through ‘In A Dream’, a more playful number, certainly one of the standout tracks on the album.
The moody cello appears on ‘Animal’, conjuring images of yellow eyed creatures in the dark dead of night, a little reminiscent of Kate Bush at her wide eyed stariest…”Once she grabs your soul / she’ll drag your poor heart down in the hole.” The haunting cello also opens ‘Breathe’, which along with the guitar and a deliberately breathy (natch) vocal creates an ideal sound for a song all about taking things slower…”You’re as free as you wish to be / Just breathe”. Another standout track is ‘Quiet Fight’, with a nicely pop soaked hooky title line, supported by good harmonies and guitar, and closer ‘Unconditional’ smolders to a delightful bluesy end.
This is an album made by someone who really understands their craft, with well constructed songs, a good standard of musicianship, strong lyrically and attentive story telling. So we should be glad that Millanta decided not to go into medicine and follow her musical dream, after all.