Jolie Holland

(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Catalpa (2003) , 5.5/10
Escondida (2004) , 6.5/10
Springtime Can Kill You (2006), 6/10
The Living and the Dead (2008), 5/10

After a brief stint with Vancouver's Be Good Tanyas, that released Blue Horse (2001), Texas-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jolie Holland, relocated to San Francisco in 1996. The demo Catalpa (Anti, 2003) introduced the vintage sound of her country-folk-blues-jazz ballads. Alley Flowers, All The Morning Birds and Demon Lover Improv were not so much personal intimate states of mind as tributes to an age long gone.

Her obsession with the likes of Billie Holiday, Woody Guthrie, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Louis Armstrong was better focused on Escondida (Anti, 2004), whose Goodbye California, Alley Flowers and Sascha also betray the influece of the Cowboy Junkies.

Springtime Can Kill You (Anti, 2006) confirmed Holland as a modern master of a traditional art that dates back to Woody Guthrie if not to Appalachian folk music: ghostly storytelling within skeletal atmospheres (Crush In The Ghetto, Stubborn Beast and Moonshiner). But only the jazzy Springtime Can Kill You and Mehitabel's Blues showed the cross-stylistic talent that the first album had heralded.

The Living and the Dead (2008) was even more "extremist" in its rediscovery of the whitewhite folk and country tradition. Sweet Loving Man is straight out of Nashville, and the mariachi of Mexico City sounds positively old-fashioned in the age of world-music. It is interesting to hear Marc Ribot's guitar is such a subdued context.

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(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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