Jolie Holland: The Living and the Dead
In both her physical worlds and her musical worlds, Jolie Holland has always been a bit of a drifter. A Houston native who spent awhile in the Bay Area, she recently packed up and headed east for Brooklyn and, in the process, tweaked her sound towards a more country-rock vibe. Holland's past three records contained an overt, timeless feel that drew upon classic jazz and folk traditions and arrangements. But what Holland possesses — and The Living and the Dead continues to highlight — is such a distinct, unique voice that captures the essence of human emotion in ways other singers struggle with. "Corrido Por Buddy," while winding and upbeat, conveys a powerful picture of sadness and struggle Holland has with a strung-out friend. "Palmyra" continues painting this picture, anchored by veteran guitarist Marc Ribot blending well with Holland's musings. Her slow, folky past shows up a few times, on "You Painted Yourself In" and "Sweet Loving Man," but they continue to show Holland's broad emotional range; the latter is a convincing, optimistic love song. In her past, Holland's never been one to champion optimism, but this time around you get the feeling that she's content in starting a new chapter in her musical life, one that celebrates instead of wallows.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.