Obviously Jolie Holland is an acquired taste, with a quite unique voice and slurred delivery that you might at first find a little off putting,but which usually repays repeated listens.An obvious analogy would be a female Tom Waits,but with her roots very firmly in Americana and folk rather than jazz.Maybe a Texan Stina Nordensten.
Anyone who has liked her previous albums will love this,her third, as it is a real step up with more complex and interesting arrangements than she has hitherto used.Nevertheless,you can still picture her as part of the houseband in a downbeat saloon in Goldrush era Alaska.
Favourite tracks are ;Springtime Can Kill You,for the whistling;Ghostly Girl,which is really quite jazzy in a Carla Bley way;Nothing To Do But Dream,great lyrics;Please Don't, for the pump organ and sweeping guitar chords...Oh hell,I suppose the truth is a like it all,because it's all good.And it's that kind of good that means you may not want to play it every day,but you will still want to play it in five or maybe fifty years time.I don't know how long she can keep making records without it all becoming to forced and contrived,maybe this is as good as it gets,but if it is it's good enough for me.
For fans of the Be Good Tanyas,Po Girl, Kathleen Edwards,Mazzy Star,Ry Cooder,especially the Long Riders soundtrack,pretty much everyone who enjoyed the soundtrack album of O Brother Where Art Thou,even Beth Gibbons at a push.You get the picture.This is good and deserves a bigger audience than it will probably get,so if it turns out you like it too,then tell a friend,tell everyone you know.
I just want to add a piece about someone you may not have heard of,but who deserves your recognition - Penny Lang.On their new cd Po' Girl do a version of one of her songs and having heard and liked it I recently bought her last album, STONE+SAND+SEA+SKY.I cannot recommend it highly enough.It's just beautiful.She must be in her 60's now,but any vocal frailities are more than made up for by the arrangements and production by Roma Baran (someone else I'm going to have to check out.).Favourite songs;Prairie Sky,My Last Go Round,One too Many Mornings and Careless Love,but the whole album's just brilliant.Trust me - I bought it on spec and I'm absolutely so glad I did,it's a little like Jolie Holland met Madeline Peyroux round at Vashti Bunyan's house and they all made an album together.Fantastic.