Few indie artists are truly financially independent. Julie Lee, a talented singer-songwriter and visual artist (she makes collages from "found objects"), supplements her income by babysitting, often for the children of musicians. Many offered to play with Lee if needed, and "after a few years of babysitting," she jokes, "I had quite a list of potential band members." Several appear on her new album, the aptly titled Julie Lee & the Baby-Daddies. CT's Mark Moring spoke with Lee.

How would you describe the album?

A collection of stories told in a variety of southern musical landscapes, illustrated by some of the top musicians and vocalists in Nashville. It's a patchwork quilt of bluegrass, old-time, country, swing, blues, and gospel.

What's the difference between creating music and visual art?

The tools and the medium may be different, but the mental process is the same. When I write a song, there is a visual image in my head, and when I create a piece of art, a song often drives it to completion.

You started with the CCM industry, but have since gone the indie route. Why?

I just saw "industry" for what it is: It's a business. It can be confusing, and "the machine" can eat you up and spit you out; I saw it happen to some of my closest friends. I was being led in a different creative direction—drawn to bluegrass and Americana because of the storytelling and the fact that the gospel is a part of that story, constantly weaving in and out.

Alison Krauss has recorded your songs. Who would be your ultimate cover?

I just want to keep growing as a writer and if something resonates with someone else at that level, well then, wonderful. I just want to keep following the Spirit. [Pause] Okay, well maybe Dolly Parton singing "He's My Man." That would be ridiculous!

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