MICHAEL HOLLAND: SIMPLE TRUTHS AND PLEASURES
Michael Holland, born March 5, 1969, grew up in a small town in North Carolina about 30 miles from Charlotte in the deep South of the U.S. - “just a flatlander from Monroe looking west towards the hills” as it says in his very personal bio in www.myspace.com/michael hollandmusic (see also www.reverbnation.com/michaelholland and www.folkbomb.com ).
He derives from his family strong musical roots which sometimes lead to a little trouble in the family - his grandmother, a Baptist preacher’s daughter, thought of the in laws as heathens because they were musicians...
Michaels own musical career started around 1990 when, after a near fatal car accident, he and his twin brother founded the Rock band Jennyanykind, which released several critically acclaimed albums on Elektra/Time Warner, Yep Roc and other labels between 1992 - 2003. Burned out by many tours through 48 states, label changes from minors to majors and back and in a state of complete emptiness and sadness, “God finally smiled on him again” - he fell in love and started a family some time later. Along came another strong influence that changed his life: He received the Harry Smith Anthology as a gift from his darling which completely changed his view towards music - it simply didn’t haunt him as it had before, “now I didn’t have to stop the whole world for it. I could go on, enjoy the rest of my days, go about my business, play that song in my head, over and over again if I wanted to, and it would never, ever trouble me again.”
More than on his first solo release “Bootleggers Dream” (2003 Big Johns), this awakening is evident on his second album “Tomorows American Treasures” (2005 Sit-n-Spin), a great and very relaxed Songwriter-Folk record widely based on joyful rags. The album spent several months in the Top 10 of the National Bluegrass Airplay charts.
His new masterpiece “Simple Truths and Pleasures” is again performed with members of the Big Fat Gap Bluegrass Band from NC, the vast majority of it recorded live in the studio. Most of the musicians have day jobs (Michael Holland is a sound engineer at the University of NC) who “just like to pick and like each other”, showing more than ever before on this album. More traditional than the predecessor, the earthly songs reflect influences of regional artists like Earl Scruggs, Blind Boy Fuller, Mississippi John Hurt, the Carter Family, Doc Watson and Hank Williams. The music is a perfect and very melodic mixture of the timeless Southern musical forms: Acoustic Country, Folk, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, Old Time String Band, Blues and Gospel. Songs to grow old with, led by Michael Holland’s warm and haunting voice, adding a fresh Songwriter appeal to the classic American Roots-genres.
Many of the song topics are personal and impressionistic, but some are topical in nature and chronicle figures in North Carolina history. The most obvious example of this is “Ballad of Eric Rudolph”, which gives an account of the infamous serial bomber’s (Olympic games 1996 in Atlanta) fate, which both sides of the argument may identify with. “Bill Payne and Wash Turner” tells the tale of the Depression Era duo from western North Carolina who busted out of prison and went on a bank robbing, shooting spree that left one policeman, George Penn, dead. “Lesley Riddle” gives the unsung “fourth” member of the Original Carter Family, a black man from Burnsville, NC, his long awaited due.
Please enjoy these rhythms of everyday life and “Keep The Music Simple” (Dr. John)!