Performing as a Solo, Duo or Trio (The Julieann Banks Band)
As is typical of creatives, Julieann Banks enjoys being a bit of a rambler, spending half of her adult life in Shreveport Louisiana and the other half in her adopted hometown of Austin Texas where she resides currently. She is an award-winning vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and bassist who also adds her hand-made porchboard percussion and harmonica to her live shows. Born out of her beginnings with touring show bands like Rotel & The Hot Tomatoes and her award winning original band Apaches of Paris, she calls her sound "Renegade Soul” - a rootsy mix of blues, rock, country. It's a "kind of down home, cool, quasi-acoustic R&B style with a strong Louisiana influence". Her performances ring with an excitement and passion and depth wrought of a lifetime commitment to being a full-time professional musician.
Answers to Questions that I've Been Asked About Me & My Music
What instruments do you play?
I started out playing piano at 6 years old. That same year I wrote my first original song, "The Ballad of The Revolutionary War" and played it at my first recital. A few years later I was accepted as a student by Nina Plant Wideman who also was a teacher of Van Cliburn. She wound up telling my parents she could no longer teach me because I refused to read music and was "playing by ear". I played keyboards in all of my first bands. Then when I moved to Austin in 1991 I started playing guitar and harmonica. I added bass in 2004. I've also dabbled in drums.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Shreveport Louisiana, spent a little time living in New Orleans Louisiana, most of my adult life I've lived here in Austin Texas with a few stints back in the old hometown to help with family members and one crazy impulsive move to Nashville and then on to Cincinnati. And then, as usual, right back to Austin!
You've been a full-time musician all of your life, have you ever had a day job?
What I hear the most from people at my shows is, "I can tell you love what you do, it shows!". And playing music has done really well for me. But there have been times I've resorted to an hourly day job. All of them were brief. I've done dang near everything. From bank teller to pet sitter to driver to lawn service. I have some pretty funny stories! I'm actually a REALTOR® now and have been for almost three years. But I don't count that a day job. I'm still self-employed and I love it. I feel fortunate in that I've found two things in my life that I'm passionate about and good at and I use both to make a living. Music feeds my soul and Real Estate feeds me and my dogs! Austin has gotten so very expensive, you almost always have to do something else as well as music. I'm lucky my "something else" is something I love and look forward to every day. Real Estate and music have blended quite nicely for me!
What has been your favorite band to play with?
My favorite band is my brand new band. I honestly believe my best work, and the best times in my life are still to come! We will be hitting it hard in 2020. Really excited about that! But I have been so lucky to play with so many wonderful artists and genres! It would be impossible to pick. I've learned from everyone that I've been fortunate enough to gig with. To name a few, I've sung with The Big Time and Rotel & The Hot Tomatoes - both of those were/are show bands. Even played George W Bush's Inaugural Ball in DC with Big TIme! I've played bass and sung with The Austin Lounge Lizards - they are an Austin institution and are comedy bluegrass. Genius songwriting! Got to play Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco with them as well as tons of fun venues in US and Canada. I've toured Japan with a Las Vegas show outfit, Switzerland, Portugal as a backing singer with Percy Sledge in 2002. Did two 2 month tours of New Zealand with Midge Marsden.
What is your favorite kind of music and who is your biggest influence?
I really love some of every kind of music. I love listening to and many times I love doing my own versions of songs from male and female artists and many different genres and eras. From classic country to rap, pop, blues, hard rock, zydeco etc. I'm influenced by all genres. Influences are the same way. Songwriting - Bernie Taupin/Elton John, Lucinda Williams, Aimee Mann, Leonard Cohen, Townes, Guy Clark....the list goes on and on. Singing Linda Ronstadt, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Beyonce, Emmylou, Pink, Miley Cyrus, Rob Halford, Patsy Cline..all over the map.
What happened to Apaches of Paris?
Apaches of Paris was my first original band and it was put together here in Austin in 1991 with my drummer Justin Hess. The core of the band was always Justin and I, and we got Nick Travis to play bass first, then Jimmy Nutt. On guitar we had Joe Eddy Hines when we started, later we had Paul LeMond. On piano and organ we had Dave Boyle. In 1995, after four years of lots of gigs and no "recording contract" we just thought we'd stretch out a little and see what else we could get into. We recorded my songs and a few that I wrote with Paul and Joe Eddy a good bit including one full length live album, "Fireman's Daughter" which I paid for by selling my car! Ah youth! We did well though and won quite a few awards in Austin as well as regionally.
How many albums have you recorded?
I'm hoping to record a new album in 2020 with my new band! We're working on some new tunes now. But as far as what I've done, there's the one I did with Apaches that I mentioned above - Fireman's Daughter, that one was full length. We had a few EP's also before that. The rest were solo projects with hired musicians. I did a EP thing called Sweet Magnolia, A live album on KUT called Gold with Paul LeMond and Mambo John Treaner, A cool album I did in Muscle Shoals at FAME studio - Magazine and Race, and my latest one is a live acoustic album called All These Things.