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Rising Stars [Issue #20]
Jolie Holland: Jolie Holland Will Thrill You
By Dave Lewis
Springtime Will Kill You (CD Anti-)

With her third album, Springtime Can Kill You (Anti- Records), quirky singer-songwriter Jolie Holland skillfully mixes vintage styles with the post-modern and comes out with an original sound that is sure to attract adventurous listeners. Swinging between jazzy tunes, country and folk melodies, lo-fi pop, and orchestral weirdness, Springtime is a self-produced collection that was largely recorded live in the studio. “I wanted to get as live as possible a sound,” says Holland. “I was trying to get less of a subdued sound. That’s my problem with a lot of studio recordings. People sound so hushed. I think of it as the sound of people worrying about money like, ‘Fuck, we’d better get it right.’”

Listening to Springtime, it’s clear that Holland was less concerned with commercial prospects than making a good, timeless-sounding record. Even the sections with horns and strings were recorded live, with the band playing together. Tracks like “You’re Not Satisfied” and “Moonshiner” certainly have a “you are there” quality to them. “I really like to hear the sound of people playing together,” says Jolie, who also acknowledges that there was only one overdub used on the record.

To further the spontaneity of the recording process, Holland invited a small audience to watch as the band laid down the tracks. “I called in some friends and we cut a few versions of each song, and it got some more life on there,” she explains. “I tried to make the studio seem more natural.”

While critics have compared her to everyone from Billie Holiday to Will Oldham, Holland finds her musical inspirations closer to home. “My friends are a really big inspiration, but a lot of people haven’t heard of my friends,” Holland admits. “[They’re] people who don’t necessarily have record deals or have their stuff out.” She singles out Vancouver-based pianist/harmonica player/hip-hopper, CR Avery (whose song “Crazy Dreams” Holland covers on the CD), as a leading inspiration.

For Springtime, Holland also found inspiration in country icons like Willie Nelson (a friend of her extended family), Jimmie Rodgers, and Riley Puckett. As a child in Texas, she recalls her family being into Western Swing, Hank Williams, as well as contemporary pop radio hits.

While Holland maintains, “I try not to listen to anything I’m not really into,” she is definitely a fan of alt-country pioneers Freakwater and prolific singer-songwriter Richard Buckner.

Self-taught, Holland plays guitar, piano, violin, and next wants to learn the cornet. While on the road, she rearranges her larger band material to suit her traveling trio. Audiences will soon get a chance to catch these tunes live. After a performance at SXSW, Holland will do two nights at the hip LA nightspot Largo before embarking on a nationwide tour.

Springtime Will Kill You

Jolie Holland Will Thrill You Jolie Holland Springtime Will Kill You

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