Jolie Holland is a supremely talented singer/songwriter from Houston, Texas. Her latest album Pint of Blood, released June 28, 2011, is a brilliant collection of ten beautiful, yet haunting songs that inhabit your consciousness with their melodic and melancholy deliverance. Holland’s music is not easily categorized as she draws elements of folk, country, rock, and jazz, into her sound and blends all of the seemingly disparate elements flawlessly to create a rich ethereal experience. More than merely musical entertainment, Holland’s album, Pint of Blood, seems to lead listeners on a spiritual journey through their own soul and toward enlightenment. Holland is a truly gifted storyteller and master songwriter who conveys the emotions of her lyrics superbly with her enchanting voice and fresh instrumental arrangements. This album bears the mark of a true artist that is channeling her muse with the highest regard for artistic integrity. Pint of Blood is a masterpiece on par with albums like Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks, The Velvet Underground: Loaded, and Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon. It is sad that an artist of this quality rarely makes it into the musical mainstream which is dominated by and seems content with trite mindless garbage by pseudo-artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Lady Antebellum, or any of the numerous “R&B” clones that wouldn’t know what true rhythm and blues was if it slapped them square in their cardboard cutout faces.
The album starts off strong with the erotic and painful “All Those Girls.” Holland tells her story of a disenchanted heart pondering the loss of a lover that seemed not to understand the complexity of a woman hardened by experience. The slow dragging and distorted guitar solo is perfectly juxtaposed with Holland’s vocal delivery and the two reside in harmony evoking the spirit of the lyrics. “Wreckage” is another brilliant song that tells the story of a woman who realizes that she is and always has been helpless to prevent her lost love from spinning his life out of control . Holland poignantly points out that, “If disappointment was like a drug, I’ve overdosed again,” because, “I can’t set you right when you go into a spin. All I can do is survey the wreckage from here.” The feeling of being unable to illuminate the minds of those we care about and point out the pitfalls they are bound to fall into if they don’t heed our well meaning advice is one I am sure many listeners will identify with. Holland covers a Townes Van Zandt song, “Rex’s Blues,” with the final track on the album. She effortlessly makes the song her own and takes it to a realm, more than likely, never envisioned by the songs author. The Jolie Holland treatment to the classic tune makes it seem as though the song was meant for her angelic vocal delivery; while the piano and sparse fiddle accompaniment lends a gentle grace and beauty to the overall experience.
Jolie Holland has reached another milestone in her ten year career as a recording artist and has, yet again, raised the bar artistically for all her future work to meet or exceed. “Pint of Blood” is a transcendental experience and is pure manna for the soul of any songwriter, musician, or experienced listener. The music is mature, erotic, and both exotic and familiar. If you are a listener with a passion for true artistic expression through the medium of music and enjoy the poetry of perfectly crafted lyrics, Jolie Holland’s latest album Pint of Blood is exactly what you crave. For more information on Holland, visit her website at http://www.jolieholland.com/ or you can also find her at http://myspace.com/jolieholland. She is currently on tour to support her latest release and the album is for sale now on http://www.amazon.com/ and is also available from her label Anti- Records’ website on both CD and Vinyl, at http://www.anti.com/artists/view/2. So, buy this record and keep an eye out for when Jolie Holland comes to your town. You will definitely not be disappointed.