local

Local Singer and Songwriter Celebrates Her Return to Music 

Written by Will Thompson
Photos by Callie Broaddus 

“Performing, especially when you’re performing your own music, is getting to connect with people and getting to feel the difference that  [your music] makes in another person,” says Juliet Lloyd, singer-songwriter and frequent Middleburg-area performer, while discussing her jam-packed schedule of local shows.

Lloyd has been busy propelling the resurgence of her music career after finding initial success as a celebrated independent artist in the mid and late 2000’s. This July she released a new album titled “High Road.” She was recently named the winner of the 2022 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Competition which recognizes the best songwriting talent in the Capital region, and her live performance schedule shows no signs of slowing down with upcoming gigs across Hunt Country including Lost Barrel Brewing and 50 West Vineyards.

At her performances, Lloyd’s spot-on cover tracks get the crowd moving while her original tracks afford audiences the opportunity to connect with her through heartfelt melodies and lyrics plucked from relatable moments in her own life. 

“High Road,” the title track on Lloyd’s new album, is a wistful pondering of why doing the right thing can sometimes feel so wrong. Delivered by Lloyd’s considerable vocal power over a melancholic piano and guitar accompaniment, “High Road” leaves listeners with a reflective mix of empowerment and regret. The track effortlessly weaves in drums and a rousing electric guitar solo to build to a crescendo of self-vindication that candidly laments the lost opportunity to indulge in conflict. “Over You” lightens the mood with a fun, melodic breakup song that’s a flippant attempt at assuring the world of being over a partner while being anything but. And from Llyod’s previous full-length album, “Come Tomorrow”is a sincere, hopeful song that highlights  the eventuality of gaining optimism through pain. It’s like a warm hug from a friend on a bad day. 

It was “Come Tomorrow,” from Lloyd’s 2007 album, “Leave the Light On,” that led the Boston Globe to proclaim that Lloyd was on “on the cusp of stardom” after the song was featured on television shows including “The Real World” and “The Hills” in addition to being added into rotation at more than 175 radio stations across the country. 

Juliet Lloyd, guitarist Steve Quintilian (left), and percussionist Oscar Mulford (right).

Lloyds success can be attributed to her lifelong passion for singing and performing. “I learned by singing along with Mariah Carey in my basement every day after school,” laughs Lloyd, recalling her earliest days as a self-taught singer. Though Lloyd went on to work through an undergraduate degree in economics, she kept singing as a hobby. Her first professional foray into music came after college when she resolutely set out to be a singer-songwriter. “Thankfully when I sat down to actually try to write, my first songs weren’t the worst in the world,” Lloyd jokes. As she ventured deeper into music and songwriting, Lloyd began to make her mark as an independent artist with original albums and songs such as “Leave the Light On.”

Even with modest musical success, Lloyd still  had the desire to exercise her degree in economics and find success in a corporate ecosystem. Lloyd took a step back from music professionally just over a decade ago to begin a career in communications consulting. But she never lost her love for music, her flair for songwriting, or her passion for performing.

Things changed for Lloyd at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The difficult experience of the pandemic and lockdowns reawakened her drive to put emotions into words and melodies. As venues slowly reopened, Lloyd began to perform and write again, eventually making the decision to concentrate on music full-time. “Even though it’s the second time around, it feels like a huge leap of faith,” says Lloyd, recounting this decision.

Left: Juliet Lloyd jams out on the keyboard during a recent performance at Farm Brew LIVE in Manassas. Middle: Lloyd and the band play covers, old favorites, and new originals. Right: Lloyd’s merchandise.

That leap of faith has resulted in numerous live shows andthe release of “High Road,” her first original content after a more than ten-year hiatus from songwriting. The album is unique for Llyod because of its distinct country music influence, stylistic growth that she credits to performing in the Middleburg area, taking requests for country cover songs, and becoming part of the community. “Because I perform so consistently in Loudoun County, I recognize a lot of people now. Every time I play, a few more people have come back to see [me] again. I’ve gotten to know so many people in the community, and they’ve been such amazing supporters of my music,” Lloyd says. 

As her reputation expands and her audiences grow, belief in the power of music will always be at the heart of what Lloyd does. “My favorite performances, whether there’s a lot of people or there’s two people, are when somebody says ‘Oh my gosh, that song really speaks to me,’ or ‘I went through something similar.’” ML

More information about Juliet Lloyd along with samples of her music and performance schedule can be found at julietlloyd.com.

This article first appeared in the August 2022 Issue

Summer Sips: Locally Inspired “Foxtails” at The Red Fox Inn & Tavern

Written by Victoria Peace
Photos by Michael Butcher 

The Red Fox Inn & Tavern located in Middleburg, Virginia, is the longest continuously run inn and tavern in the country. Established in 1728, the property is steeped in tradition and features historic touches throughout the interior that transport visitors back in time. However, the libations that the inn offers are far from stuck in the past. Tavern Manager Anna Adams enjoys keeping things fresh and inventive behind the bar through an ever-changing variety of seasonal “Foxtails” – unique, elevated cocktails that use local Virginia ingredients and liquors. These cocktails with “a foxy charm” have become favorites of locals and out-of-towners alike.

There are currently four Foxtails on the menu – Sky Meadows, The Thoroughbred, The Spicy Mare, and The First Lady – all the perfect sip on a hot summer day.

Red Fox Inn & Tavern’s locally inspired “Foxtails.” 

Sky Meadows

Named after a popular state park just 20 minutes from Middleburg, Sky Meadows elegantly juxtaposes delicate flavors and a bold presentation.  A combination of gin and housemade cucumber water creates a refreshing, light-green base which is topped off with a white elderflower foam. Adams notes that the base layer represents the lush grasses of the meadows while the foam symbolizes the clouds and mist that frequently cover the rolling hills of the park. Adams sources the gin in Sky Meadows from Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Virginia. She appreciates how their Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin® has nice floral notes and a light juniper flavor.

The Thoroughbred

The Thoroughbred, a quintessential symbol of Hunt Country, features John J. Bowman bourbon paired with fresh lemon juice, pineapple, and bitters. Adams describes it as a drink that both bourbon lovers and “entry-level” bourbon drinkers can enjoy because of the beautiful balance between the citrus and the bourbon. John J. Bowman bourbon is produced by A. Smith Bowman Distillery located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The oldest distillery in Virginia, it brought home the World’s Best Bourbon award in 2016 among other accolades.

The Spicy Mare

True to its name, the Spicy Mare packs a punch. The spicy notes in the drink come from Adams’ house-made jalapeno-infused tequila. However, the heat is balanced out with a hibiscus honey syrup made from fresh local honey and hibiscus leaves.

The First Lady

“The First Lady [is named so because] the drink is sophisticated but also dainty,” Adams says. “Because it’s not a super heavy spirit drink, it has to stand alone, and I think that kind of describes what our first ladies have to do.” Inspired by a Clover Club cocktail, The First Lady features a house-made raspberry syrup and puree, Flying Fox peach vermouth, and cointreau. Adams loves using Flying Fox vermouth in her cocktails because Flying Fox never puts a definitive flavor profile on their vermouths – they are always seasonal. The peach vermouth in The First Lady perfectly speaks to the sweetness of warm Virginia summers. 

Adams takes great pride in the innovative flavor profiles and creative names of all of the Foxtails. However, if she had to recommend just one, she would suggest ordering The Thoroughbred. The Spicy Mare is a close second, but she says that it’s hard to beat the smoothness of the bourbon-citrus blend.

Left: Anna Adams Middle: Red Fox Inn on a sunny summer’s day. Right: Adam’s adds a final flourish to a refreshing cocktail. 

Looking ahead to the fall, Adams is already brainstorming ideas for new, seasonal Foxtails. Last year she made an apple carrot drink which was very popular. She anticipates a version of this drink will make a comeback this year. She’s also playing around with autumnal flavor profiles such as honey, cinnamon, and figs, and sweet potato and cranberry.

Foxtails have always been part of The Red Fox’s history. However, since taking the helm just over five months ago, Adams has revamped all of the Foxtails on the menu to put her own spin on them

Before taking over the bar, Adams managed The Red Fox Inn & Tavern’s front desk. Adams grew up in Front Royal and attended Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and culinary arts. Though she loved her time there, she felt herself longing to go back to Virginia. The very first application she submitted was to The Red Fox Inn & Tavern. Before she had even returned from North Carolina, she was hired.

After touring the property, she knew she had made the right decision. She loved the “heart and hearth” feel of the establishment and just wanted to “be in the atmosphere” of the historic inn. Within a few months of joining the staff, a position happened to open up in the tavern leading her to where she is today.

Adams strives to offer guests a fine dining experience in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. She takes pride in the fact that while the space appears quaint and cozy, people are always wowed by the upscale food and outstanding service The Red Fox provides.

“We’re a small bar but we have a lot to offer,” Adams says. “We have some really great bourbons, and our list is curated with some wonderful spirits that would 100% be worth coming out and trying.” She suggests stopping by the bar around thirty minutes before your dinner reservation to savor an aperitif that gives you a true taste of the flavors, spirits, and history of Hunt Country. ML 

The Red Fox Inn and Tavern is open from Monday through Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. (with the exception of Wednesday) and Saturday and Sunday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, please call 540-687-6301. 

This article first appeared in the August 2022 Issue

Meet Middleburg: Punkin Lee, Leather Goods Designer

Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale

She’s as Middleburg as they come. Punkin Lee has lived all but a few years of her life in the Middleburg community. After graduating Hill School, she lived away from her hometown only to attend high school at St. Catherine’s in Richmond followed by two years at Centenary University in New Jersey, then graduating college at Florida State University.

As a child she always had horses of her own. “I had two ponies to take care of before I went to school. I would ride one before school and when I’d come home I’d ride the other one.”

“We would ride all weekend, riding wherever,” says Punkin about the way she and her friends spent their spare time. “We would ride over to somebody’s house, pick up somebody else, ride into town. You didn’t come down the road, you would just cut through farms.”

“When I was home from high school and college, I’d ride a horse during my lunch break and jump in with the hunt and then drop out and go back to work,” recalls Punkin who also fox hunted and showed horses. Clearly, the town has changed over the years, “It’s gotten bigger and busier.” But the reason Punkin has made Middleburg her lifelong home is the one thing that’s remained the same. “Community. It’s a great place to live if you get involved in things.”

Punkin’s involvement in Middleburg has centered around keeping it healthy for businesses and residents while preserving the history and heritage that make Middleburg so unique. Volunteering as the Middleburg Business and Professional Association president, serving on town landscape and Historic District Review committees, and whatever else comes up in the community, keeps her busy when she’s not at Journeymen Saddlers on Madison Street.

While most people have jumped around from one job to another throughout their careers, Punkin leaves the jumping to her customers. She has owned and operated her shop that specializes in custom riding chaps and belts with finished needlepoint, and repairs to saddles, boots, tack and strap goods for 41 years. Her staying power is matched closely by the majority of her colleagues, most of whom have been with Journeymen Saddlers since the beginning years.

In her shop, there are leather goods everywhere—bridles and halters lie in heaps on the floor, rolled hides stand at the ready in different departments, saddles rest on stands, chaps hang on hooks, boots set on the floor, dog collars are displayed on a board. The intoxicating smell of leather hangs in the air and its soft feel is always within reach.

Leather is organic, artistic, practical and magical in its possibilities. “You take half a hide and you create. You cut it, you strip it,” says Punkin. “And then it’s something,” At Journeymen, that something is beautiful, functional and of the highest quality. The store’s reputation draws people from afar and keeps customers coming back year after year. The professionals, the really good horsemen and women, make up the bulk of Punkin’s business, but the weekend horse riders appreciate the craftsmanship of her workshop, too.

A customer came in the shop and wanted to order custom chaps for her very tall boyfriend who was to stop by later to be measured last month. She handled a chain of leather samples of every color and finish imaginable, her fingers ran over the smoothness of the squares. “These are so cool,” she said as she flipped through the selection over and over again.

Leather repair and custom repair work require a pair of human hands. Little of the work can be accomplished by a machine alone, though the treadle sewing machine in the corner is an indispensable tool. Like many trades, there aren’t many young people interested in learning leather work. “We’d like to continue as long as we’re healthy,” says Punkin of herself and her employees. “What else are you going to do? I’m not a sitter.”

Not a sitter at all, Punkin runs regularly. “We run on Landmark (School Road) a lot, eight miles to the Y and back, 17 hills,” she added. “But, who’s counting, right?” She and her group of women friends have been running together for more than 20 years and have completed an Ultra Marathon, a marathon, several half marathons and countless shorter races. She said they always run as a group and have picked out a marathon to run next fall in Nags Head, North Carolina. “If we’re going to do one, go flat. If you train on the hills here, you ought to be able to crank that out on the flat.”

Committed, consistent and hard-working, Punkin is a stayer. A get up and go person who is happy to stay put in Middleburg, a life choice our community is all the better for.

 

This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Middleburg Life. 

X