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Claire Holley

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Claire Holley is a singer/songwriter blessed with a warm, gentle voice that possesses an unexpected strength, as well as a lyrical style that is humane, gentle, and literate without sounding pretentious. Holley was born in rural Mississippi and took to music early in her childhood; she taught herself to play ukulele when she was a girl, and was inspired to pick up guitar after repeated exposure to one of her parents' favorite albums, The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show by Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. In her teens, Holley had grown confident enough in her abilities as a singer and musician to start playing club shows in nearby Jackson, MS, and she delved further into music when she relocated to Chicago, IL, to attend college. In Chicago, Holley began writing her own songs, and took the opportunity to record her first demos with friends at a small recording studio on campus; later, Holley became friendly with producer John Plymale, and together they recorded the material for what would become Holley's first self-released album, 1997's Night Air. Plymale also worked with Holley on her second album, a collection of traditional gospel songs titled Sanctuary, and in 2001 she was signed to the independent Yep Rock label and released her self-titled third disc. Holley explored a warmer and more natural approach in the studio with her fourth set, Dandelion, which was produced by sidemen Steve Graham and Rob Seals and released in 2003. ~ Mark Deming

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