Julian is a folk-inspired singer/songwriter who has the praise of colleagues like Randy Newman but has yet to connect with mainstream consumers.

Julian is a folk-inspired singer/songwriter who has the praise of colleagues like Randy Newman but has yet to connect with mainstream consumers. On Good Life, he takes his best crack at being user-friendly, while also remaining true as the highly literate storyteller that he's always been. Cuts like the pensive yet funk-fortified "Trick Candle" and the playful, rock-etched "Everything's Cool" match smart lyrics with infectious melodies and accessible choruses. Julian is still at his best in a live setting, where his words take on a delightfully vivid, three-dimensional life. But Good Life shows that he can effectively channel and contain his work in concise, bite-sized pieces, too. All he needs are a few heroes at triple-A radio. For info, log on to richardjulian.com.—LF