Jolie Holland

Jolie Holland
Photo by Scott Irvine

In a land where the blues reign, where California is both home and a place far, far away, and where pretty much all emotions reflect off the surface of the radiant moon before hitting paper, resides Jolie Holland. Raised in Houston, and somewhat of a gypsy traveler from Austin to New Orleans to Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, this woman’s music possesses that elusive authentic quality that demands notice. The success of her first solo album, Catalpa, earned her a spot on Anti- Records’ roster, home to such icons as Daniel Lanois, Tom Waits, and Merle Haggard.

Though it’s the 21st century and Holland lives in San Francisco, her music sounds more like it is from the first half of the 20th. In the era before music splintered into blues, jazz, pop, country, folk, and gospel, it would have been much simpler to describe the sound. Her latest release, Escondida, includes straight blues, a civil war dirge, and a sincere love song for her ukulele, among other things.

Defining characteristic of Holland’s music is the sense of stable optimism that permeates everything. She sings about death and loneliness and regret, but it lacks grief. In her most frank confrontation of lost love, the chorus reminds: “I know there’s a sunrise on the other side to pull me through.”

One of the highlights of this entirely solid album is ‘Goodbye California,’ an upbeat country track that highlights her mystical, finely sharpened sense of imagery.

Other lovely parts of the album include the bits of musical saw, the gory English tale of ‘Mad Tom of Bedlam’ and the wistful ‘Damn Shame.’


  • Paul Irish says:

    I’ve been wanting to put up Sascha for a while.. Jolie is a darling. 🙂 Thanks.

  • Jamie says:

    I can’t believe this. It was just today that I stunbled upon Jolie on and thought that she would be a perfect candidate for womenfolk and… here she is!
    I can’t wait to hear more of Jolie’s songs.

  • lynne says:

    Hi, you asked where the pop ups are coming from – the one I always get reads
    Hope that helps.

  • I adore Jolie Holland. She’s a real throwback. I particularly like the cough in All The Morning Birds.

  • jim says:

    thanks for the tunes.

    She sings backup on this one sonny smith ( song “i heard the words” …listening to her and sonny sing “i don’t seem to feel any pain…” just sends chills.

  • supergurg says:

    ooh am looking forward to hearing these tunes 🙂

    P.S. i am getting popups too

  • DeAnn says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for keeping us informed about these wonderful artists.

    I tried to e-mail you about a band I love, however, and your e-mail was returned to me. Have you been having any other trouble with e-mail, or is it on my end?

    (I also get a popup fairly often, FYI.)

  • Robbie says:

    Glad everyone is enjoying Jolie Holland. Big thanks go out to Ali Marcus who was kind enough to send me a write-up on Ms. Holland’s music.

    I’ll look into these pop-ups that you guys are mentioning. For some reason, I’m not experiencing them. Could be part of the stat counter. Have to look to be sure.

  • Alan says:

    Did you know that Jolie has a new album coming out this year, provisionally called “The Future”… v. exciting!!!!

  • mary says:

    Just wondering when you are going to do a piece on Ferron…or did I miss it…

    her new album is out…

  • Julie Jackson Lusby says:

    Jolie’s new CD, Springtime Can Kill You will be out May 8. I have previewed it. It’s wonderful.

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