By Bill Althaus

I had no idea what to expect when I attended Julia Othmer’s concert this past summer at the annual Santa-Cali-Gon celebration on The Square in Independence.

I did not expect to see a dynamic performance that would rank among the most memorable of all the concerts I have witnessed over the past 44 years – ranging from Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band at Kutztown State College in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, back in 1975 to Green Day at The Pageant Theater in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago.

Othmer is a hometown girl who grew up in Kansas City and has strong ties to Independence. When she steps on stage and slides behind her keyboard, she is in total command.

She is a charmer, an entertainer, a singer/songwriter who commands the stage – no matter how big or small. She makes every member of the audience feel like she is playing just for them, and that is a rare gift.

Another rare gift is her newest album, “SOUND,” which she will debut in concert Dec. 9 at The Folly Theater in Kansas City.

“SOUND” consists of 10 personal tracks that range from the spiritual “Who Ever Says,” to the upbeat “Frickin Awesome,” a tune that demands a listen or two to fully understand the deep inner meaning of the song.

This album is personal. The songs are exciting and well crafted - with just the right touch of production that enhances, and does not overpower Othmer’s smoky, one-of-kind voice.

I played some songs off “SOUND” for friends, who immediately asked if they were unreleased tracks by Lady Gaga.

Ms. Othmer, you might never receive a better compliment.

When I listen to “SOUND” I smile, I get misty eyed and I think.

Thank you for this memorable gem.