10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jolie Holland’s previous albums presented certain peculiar challenges. She sang in a tough twang and arranged the songs around a ghostly Americana of rock, gospel, mountain folk, and jazz that could be unnervingly weird where a moment of calm and comfort would have been the right welcoming gesture to an audience not yet warmed up to her idiosyncratic vision. For album number four, 2008’s The Living and the Dead, Holland immediately begins things with an amiable “hello” of sorts with the easeful, pop-like sparkle of “Mexico City,” a song that takes on Jack Kerouac and his beatnik crew. “Corrido Por Buddy” is deceptively upbeat, as it tells the sad story of an old friend barely recognizable after years of drug addiction. “Fox In Its Hole” uses a south-westernly sense of drama to unfold. Holland is joined here by Tom Waits’ and Elvis Costello’s guitarist Marc Ribot, who provides piercing counterpoint to her musings. Holland still leaves in plenty of rough edges. “Your Big Hands” exposes every cool nuance of her world-weary voice with plenty of space for the guitars to rumble behind and “Enjoy Yourself” is pure field recording, her voice rubbing up against the night air in exultation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jolie Holland’s previous albums presented certain peculiar challenges. She sang in a tough twang and arranged the songs around a ghostly Americana of rock, gospel, mountain folk, and jazz that could be unnervingly weird where a moment of calm and comfort would have been the right welcoming gesture to an audience not yet warmed up to her idiosyncratic vision. For album number four, 2008’s The Living and the Dead, Holland immediately begins things with an amiable “hello” of sorts with the easeful, pop-like sparkle of “Mexico City,” a song that takes on Jack Kerouac and his beatnik crew. “Corrido Por Buddy” is deceptively upbeat, as it tells the sad story of an old friend barely recognizable after years of drug addiction. “Fox In Its Hole” uses a south-westernly sense of drama to unfold. Holland is joined here by Tom Waits’ and Elvis Costello’s guitarist Marc Ribot, who provides piercing counterpoint to her musings. Holland still leaves in plenty of rough edges. “Your Big Hands” exposes every cool nuance of her world-weary voice with plenty of space for the guitars to rumble behind and “Enjoy Yourself” is pure field recording, her voice rubbing up against the night air in exultation.

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