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Album Review

When Holly Near teamed up with the folk duo emma's revolution at an anti-Iraq War rally, they discovered they were musically as well as politically complementary, resulting in this album, which places Near in the center of a vocal trio, singing mostly songs from her repertoire. For Near fans, that means getting to hear songs they already know in new arrangements. Near is usually classified as a folk artist, but her usual accompaniment is a piano or a folk-rock group; this may be the closest thing to a conventional folk album she's ever made, backed largely by the acoustic guitars of emma's revolution members Pat Humphries and Sandy O. The three also sing some of the songs — "1000 Grandmothers," "Fired Up," "Study War No More" — a cappella. True to the circumstances of their first encounter, their favorite subject is opposition to war, and the most powerful new song they present in that regard is Rick Burkhardt's "Ministry of Oil," which specifically addresses the Iraq War. Near has always had a talent for blending her voice with those of other artists with whom she is compatible as a performer and as an activist, whether it's been Ronnie Gilbert or Inti-Illimani. This is another appropriate match-up that should be accompanied by more live performances.


Born: 06 June 1949 in Ukiah, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Entering the field of topical songwriting after the activism of the 1960s, Holly Near promoted a variety of left-wing political causes with music that touched on folk, rock, and the musical theater, starting in the early 1970s. Beginning with her work against the Vietnam War, she turned to radical lesbian feminism before again expanding her concerns to include international issues. A red-diaper baby of leftist parents, Near grew up on a ranch in the small Northern California town of Potter Valley....
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We Came to Sing!, Holly Near
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