Jolie Holland

Channeling the backwoods warbler

Every few years, a new ancient voice arrives on the scene to rev up the same ol' authenticity debates and stale Billie Holiday comparisons. Last year it was Jolie Holland's turn for both scoffs and well-deserved year-end best-of citations. Holland shares a label (and some vocal inflections) with Tom Waits, and her press clippings include reasonable comparisons to early Lucinda Williams, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, and a certain Ms. Norah Jones. But with Holland's acoustic-guitar picking, lyrics about old-fashioned morphine and vocals that drawl indefinitely before lurking forever in a listener's mind, her sound is closer to the women Alan Lomax used to record down in the Carolina mountains. Authentic enough, to be sure.

 
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