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The Living and the Dead

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Better than ever!!

is this Jolie Holland's best by far? in some ways, it sounds quite different from her previous offerings, and i have to admit that i was slightly worried that i might get disappointed till i heard the first single, 'mexico city.' the whole album is a beautiful combination of contemporary and that rusty dusty sound, interwoven with wonderful poetry, which is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes helpless and sometimes hopeful, while that old sense of irony constantly poking its head in between, which is 'the beauty' of her. i love it, and yes i think it's her best album so far. amzing, Jolie Holland is a real gem. so glad that i've lived to listen to this one!

Enjoy yourself!

You have to really sit down and focus on this album. Give it your full and complete attention. For it is a shiny shiny diamond that sparkles then fades sparkles then and then releases you. I love it. Mmmmm.... i'm smitten by every tune.

Amazing As Always!!!

I love this new album. If you're just discovering Jolie Holland, I suggest you buy all of her stuff, it'll make your days easier and your life happier...


Born: May 17, 1976 in Houston, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jolie Holland grew up in Texas, where from a young age she experimented with writing, playing, and singing music. By her teens she had learned piano, guitar, and fiddle, and was performing as a traveling musician. San Francisco was home for a time in the mid-'90s before Holland was on her horse again, ambling to Vancouver and founding the neo-traditionalist folk outfit Be Good Tanyas. She contributed to the Tanyas' Blue Horse LP (Nettwerk, 2001) before moving back to San Francisco. There a series...
Full Bio