Stillhouse Road

If an artist can be judged by the company she keeps, Julie Lee gets high marks before the first note is heard on her new Compadre release.

If an artist can be judged by the company she keeps, Julie Lee gets high marks before the first note is heard on her new Compadre release. Guests on the record include Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Rob Ickes, Dave Pomeroy and Tammy Rodgers. But this fine singer/songwriter needs no one to prop her up. As a songwriter, Lee paints vivid panoramas of Southern life (the title cut, "Soapbox," "Sojourner Truth"). As a vocalist, she's a powerhouse, owning a solid gold tremolo laced with attitude and blessed with range that she wields with style. Religious themes surface frequently and are most powerful on "He's My Man." With honest, artfully conceived songs and superb musicianship, a world-class singer has created a special piece of work.—RW