Jolie Holland brings an unconventionally infectious brand of musical tricks to Seaside.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Singer-songwriter Jolie Holland has been collecting ghost stories for 15 years. She is currently working on publishing a graphic novel to incorporate the tales.
But music has been a part of Holland’s life for much, much longer, even though she had no formal training, something she feels has worked to her advantage.
“I’m pretty fearless,” she says. “I think most self-taught musicians are really scared to invent things.”
Holland’s fifth and most recent release, Pint of Blood, showcases her innovative sensibility and ability to incorporate a plethora of musical styles. The album, inspired by Neil Young’s Zuma and recorded mostly in her home studio, pops with a rare, vivid energy.
“The one thing that’s very different about me from most recording artists is I have a serious commitment to live recording,” Holland says.
On the album opener, “All Those Girls,” Holland’s voice starts out softly, gliding over the strums of an acoustic guitar. By the time the tune peaks, and the acoustic turns to distortion and her delivery erupts into an uncontainable, dissonant force, a song about betrayal unmistakably emerges. If Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Billie Holiday had a baby, its voice would probably sound like Holland’s.
Holland inimitable voice fills the Alternative Cafe on Monday – with special guest Levi Strom – and further backing by instrument builder Keith Cary (on lap steel) and Carey Lamprecht (on violin).
The Texas native’s unconventionality – whether it’s her slightly off-kilter time signature or atypical phrasing – may come off as strange to some, but Holland’s music has made a fan out of Tom Waits, a fellow unorthodox artist.
“I know it’s true [that Waits is a fan] but I don’t believe it – it feels like a weird myth,” she says. “One of my favorite things about Tom Waits as an artist is it seems like he’s always looking ahead.”
With Holland in the mix, he’s certainly not alone.
JOLIE HOLLAND and LEVI STROM play 8pm Monday, Feb. 27, at the Alternative Cafe, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $10. 583-0913.