Review on www.charliegillett.com
Jolie Holland, late of Be Good Tanyas, has been described by Londonâ€™s Time Out as an Appalachian Billie Holliday. Without meaning any disrespect to Lady Day, this is wide of the mark. Billie was about love and loss; as the name of Jolieâ€™s latest album The Living and the Dead, suggests, Jolie is about more serious stuff. Melodic and rhythmic, she enraptured an audience whom it was obvious, already adored her.
She played a selection of songs from her extensive repertoire, but one song stood out above all the others. I Want No Country written about 9-11 by Jan Bell, a Yorkshire born, Brooklyn resident. It contained the lines 'I Want No Country, Though I'm a Country Girl, Just Like Virginia Said, My Country is the Whole Wide World'. It was a song which tears your soul in pieces but leaves you with a feeling of hope.
If you took away the production whistles and bells and the candy-floss lyrics, from the bulk of popular music, little would remain. When this sort of music is presented stripped-bare it becomes something which is hauntingly and searingly, beautiful.
- Richard Pearson