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
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
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
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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