From dingy bars in New York to gaudy coffee shops in New Orleans, Dutch singer/songwriter Judy Blank’s haunting and classically beautiful voice has graced almost every corner of the U.S.
After a rocky start to her music career in the Netherlands, Blank came to America with a borrowed guitar and a fresh slate of songs, embarking on a tour of small venues that revitalized her career. Her renewed energy and excitement led her to Nashville, where she was taken in by seasoned musicians at Southern Ground Studios; soon after, her 2018 album, Morning Sun, was released, establishing the singer’s signature blend of indie-folk, Americana, and rock n’ roll.
Since coming to the U.S., Blank has become a non-American-Americana sensation. The Utrecht native has not only made a name for herself at festivals like SXSW, but also as the first Dutch person to play at AmericanaFest. Her work with both American and Dutch artists and producers creates a combination of European-pop and folksy, bluesy Americana that gives her a unique edge in the Americana scene.
Last fall, Blank found herself in the Arkansas Ozarks – and among the picturesque scenery, a friendship developed between her and “America’s most liberal cowboy,” Dylan Earl. Bonding over their mutual love of old-timey country music, strong margaritas, and philosophizing about life, the pair was inspired to begin writing songs together.
From this newfound partnership came “Never Said A Word”, the duo’s first single; released June 18th, the song is a heartstring-tugging ode to things that never came to be. Delicate guitar accompanies the duet, as the two reminisce on the past, and where they went wrong. Earl’s deep and brooding voice contrasts Blank’s timelessly alluring voice, emanating a vintage country ballad. The simplicity of the song gives it a raw and authentic quality, which makes it all the more heartbreaking; even without the lyrics, the orchestrations in the chorus and contemplative melody project the song’s melancholy feeling.
“The chances that we didn’t take, decisions that we didn’t make, we’re just gonna have to live, but I can’t live this way,” sings the bridge, where the song feels its most emotional – the verses and chorus prior serving as a crescendo to the moment. The lyrics are poetic, expressing the wonder of a what-if relationship in a way that stirs emotions, and throws you headfirst into the story.
Along with the release of the single, came the music video Blank and Earl made for the song. Shot separately by Earl in Arkansas and Blank in Utrecht, the gloomy shots could be mistaken for the same place; but, the video is true to the song’s grieving of different places and lives. Going through similar motions of the day-down to both of them (coincidentally) making coffee in a french press, we get a glimpse into the lives of lovers who have grown apart.
Following the release of the song and video, Blank and Earl embarked on their UK Summer tour, which ran June 24th through the 29th, with stops in London, Hastings, Sutton, and Brighton. A look through either of their Instagram pages (Blank, Earl) gives a delightful insight into their friendship and musical endeavors through their effortlessly cool, vintage-inspired feeds.
As of right now, the two do not have any shows remaining on the books; however, if you’re reading from the Netherlands, Blank can be caught all around the country throughout July. For all of us in the U.S., we’ll have to settle for watching the music video until we can see this dynamic duo on stage.