One would never suspect that Florida-based blues
guitarist David Julia is still just a
teenager and will be for another couple of
years. The kid is well advanced beyond his
years, musically-speaking. Veteran bluesman Bob
Margolin has said about Julia that he has a
combination of "old soul and youthful fire."
After previously releasing a short EP,
Julia's first full-length album, Inspired
(VizzTone), is out and it's a winner.
Produced by Mike Zito, Inspired is a mix
of well-chosen covers and Julia originals. He's
backed by a tight band of Elliot Keys (B3),
Lonnie Trevino Jr. (bass), Matthew R. Johnson
(drums) and Lewis Stephens (piano).
Julia shows his stuff right from the start, with
some hot guitar licks on the up-tempo original
"Hey There Sally" and then as he packs plenty of
emotion into his guitar on the slow blues "Throw
Me A Rope," another original composition. Julia
rocks out on the mid-tempo "Something Ain't
Right," written by fellow Floridian JP Soars.
The instrumental "Sunshine Boogie" gives Julia a
chance to really stretch out on guitar with some
rapid-fire picking similar to what we used to
hear from guitar geniuses like Danny Gatton and
Roy Buchanan. He follows with a slow ballad, "If
Only," with Keys taking it to church on the B3,
before slowing down the tempo on a Tab Benoit
number, "Nice and Warm." Another creative
original is the funky, edgy "Don't Get Me Goin',"
on which Julia does a bit of a rap with his
At this point in the album I was ready to
characterize Julia's vocals as good but with the
potential to get stronger with maturity. But his
voice gets that added strength further into the
disc, especially on the slow blues "Empty
Promises," done originally by Michael Burks and
then on the mid-tempo blues shuffle, "Keep Her
Around Too Long" which has nice piano
accompaniment from Stephens. Perhaps Julia's
best vocal performance comes on the stop-time,
mid-tempo blues shuffle "Clean Break."
One of my favorite performances on the disc
comes with the closing number, "You Don't Need
No Shelter," showcasing Julia's versatility as
he performs in an acoustic setting in a duo
setting with producer Zito. Nice.
Inspired will certainly make my Top Ten
list for 2018 and it shows that Julia is a
performer to be followed closely as his career
develops. I can't wait for the follow-up to see
what's next for the young man.
--- Bill Mitchell