Home' Rhythms Magazine : Rhythms May June 2019 Contents “Thumbs up for Mother Nature” is the
greeting the unconventional improvising
American artist and musician, Lonnie Holley
sends down the phone. Both Holley’s art
works and lyrics and music reflect this
passionate concern for the planet and other
issues. From a ‘struggle town’ upbringing
in Alabama, he carved out a career making
sculptures from sandstone and later
from found objects. He deconstructs and
reimagines them. His singing follows a
similar spontaneous creation of new lyrics
drawn also from what he sees around him.
Holley who is making his first Australian
appearance in next month’s Melbourne
International Jazz Festival has been
widely recognised within art circles for his
sculptures and visual art. During the 1996
Olympic Games in Atlanta, he came to the
attention of collectors when he exhibited
with fifty artists in the Souls Grown Deep:
African-American Vernacular Art of the
His works have now been acquired by
America’s major museums including
the Birmingham Museum of Art and
the Smithsonian. His sculptures are on
permanent display at he United Nations and
have been displayed in the Rose Garden of
the White House. “My works of art climbed
the charts,’ he quips.
But while the 69-year-old artist was being
embraced by the art world his extraordinary
musical talent was only discovered
by chance thirteen years ago.
He recounts that Matt
Arnett, whose father
was a collector of
Holley’s art, heard him
sing. “He said we have
to do something with
One day the Library
of Congress was
elderly ladies and
gents in Alabama,
for its Songs of
them and then
gave me the
to do my first
Also present was Lance Ledbetter who had
the Dust to Disc Label. Holley was signed
up and in 2011 his first album Just Before
Music was released. The self-taught Holley
plays electric keyboard and sings in raw,
earthy voice that can also slide into falsetto
range, bend notes and stretch phrases. He
soon found musicians wanting to record
and tour with him starting with punk rock
band Deerhunter and Indie singer and
guitarist Bill Callahan. “A friend of a friend”
of Deerhunter’s lead singer Bradford Cox,
organised the hook-up. “He heard my music
and I did a song on one of their albums, ‘On
The Other Side of the Pulpit’.”
Working with other musicians, “showed
me the power of collaboration and how
beautiful it is,” Holley says. He felt he had
found musicians who knew that music is
a healing tool. “They were trying to do
something about the world condition, they
were trying to heal the Mothership.”
Other musicians who sought him out for
American or European tours included
Canadian singer, guitarist, song-writer and
Grammy winning producer Daniel Lanois
and his band, the Indie folk band Ben Iver,
and jazz drummer and composer Brian
At first, Holley says of playing with Lanois’
band: “their music was stranger for me to
listen to. I had to listen and once I listened,
I got into their own groove.” Through their
example, he came to recognize what they
were after. He marvels that, “I never thought
that I could be at that level of output. This is
what the spirit calls for.”
Holley says of his voice, “I was just blessed.
Since I was a little child of five I was singing.
I grew up in jukebox joints. I was always
hearing different types of music, always
hearing moaning and groaning.” But he says
he never expected his music would “go up
the charts the way it did” – a reference to his
first records voted among the top records of
the year in 2013 in the Washington Post and
Lonnie Holley is performing in Australia
with trombonist Dave Nelson and drummer/
percussionist Marlon Patton. Last year
Holley released his first album in five years,
MITH, and they are among the musicians
playing on it. MITH includes the
track ‘I Woke up in a Fucked up
America’. He says his lyrics
reflect “all of our experience
in America, nor just recent
occurrences, all the way
down the timelessness.’’
Think Gil-Scott Heron,
think Sun Ra and you are
getting closer to Holley’s
performs at the
House on May 31,
at the Melbourne
June 1 for the
MIJF and at
in Hobart on
CARVING OUT A CAREER
Renowned sculptor and visual artist Lonnie Holley is
enjoying late-life success as a musician.
By Andra Jackson
BASEMENT DISCS HIGHLY RECOMMEND
NEW RELEASES MAY
LIVE IN-STORE GIGS
̄ KEVIN BENNETT & THE FLOOD FRI 10TH MAY
̄ ROB SNARSKI & SHANE O’MARA FRI 17TH MAY
̄ CHARLES JENKINS FRIDAY 31ST MAY
̄ All shows in-store at 12.45 (lunchtime)
* CHECK WEBSITE FOR UPCOMING LIVE PERFORMANCES IN JUNE
Just ask if available on vinyl LP
• ALAN PARSONS 'The Secret'
• ALDOUS HARDING 'Designer'
• ANDERS OSBORNE 'Buddha & The Blues'
• KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD
'Fishing for Fishies
• IAIN MATTHEWS ‘Órphans & Outcasts’
A Collection of Demos, etc (4CD)
• PETE SEEGER 'The Smithsonian Collection'
(6CD/200 pg book)
• FELICE BROTHERS 'Undress'
• THE FRIGHTNRS
• VAMPIRE WEEKEND 'Father of the Bride'
• B.B. KING BLUES BAND 'The Soul of The King'
• DAWN LANDES 'My Tiny Twilight'
• ESPERANZA SPAULDING '12 Little Spells'
• JOE LOUIS WALKER 'Viva Las Vegas Live' (DVD also)
• PAUL BUTTERFIELD 'Live at Rockpalast' (CD/DVD)
• ANGELIQUE KIDJO 'Celia' (trib to CELIA CRUZ)
• ELIZA CARTHY 'Restitute'
• JIMMIE VAUGHAN 'Baby, Please Come Home'
• JIMMY WEBB 'Slip Cover'
• JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR 'Reckless Heart'
• CASH BOX KINGS 'Hail To The Kings'
• BIG BIG TRAIN 'Grand Tour'
• STING 'My Songs'
• KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD 'The Traveler'
• RORY GALLAGHER 'Blues' (3CD feat rare
performances. incl. w. MUDDY WATERS,
JACK BRUCE etc)
• GRAHAM PARKER 'Squeezing Out Sparks –
Solo Acoustic 40th Anniversary
• V/A: RHYTHM'N'BLUESIN BY THE BAYOU:
Bop Cat Stomp
• JACK BRUCE 'Live at Rockpalast 1980,
‘83 & 1990 (5CD/2DVD)
• RONNIE LANE 'Just For A Moment'(73-97)
• THE WATERBOYS 'Where The Action Is'
(Deluxe 2CD ed also)
• CAROLE KING 'Live at Montreux 73’
(CD, CD/DVD or CD/BR)
• GRATEFUL DEAD ‘Aoxomoxoa' (50th Anniversary
• JOHN RENBOURN 'Unpentangled: The 60s
• SANTANA 'Africa Speaks'
• CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD 'Servants
of the Sun'
• JIM LAUDERDALE 'From Another World'
• LOS STRAITJACKETS 'Channel Surfing'
• THE ROLLING STONES 'Bridges to Bremen'
(CDs+DVD/CDs+BR, DVD or BR)
• THE RACONTEURS 'Help Us Stranger'
• MARK RONSON 'Late Night Feelings'
• SAVOY BROWN 'City Night'
• FLEETWOOD MAC 'Before the Beginning Live
1968-70' (3CD, Rare & unreleased)
• J.J. CALE 'Stay Around' (Posthumous unreleased)
MAVIS STAPLES ‘We Get By’
The follow up to the JEFF TWEEDY produced 2017 release
‘If All I Was Was Black’ & the recent ‘Live in London’. This
time Mavis has teamed up with BEN HARPER, who composed
11 original tracks meant to offer “love, hope & history during a
politically divided era”.
V/A: JAZZ FEST! ‘The New Orleans Jazz
& Heritage Festival’ (5CDs)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz
& Heritage Festival, Smithsonian Folkways will release this 5CD
box set of live recordings from the iconic festival, spanning 1974
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE ‘The Saint of
The follow up to 2017’s ‘Kids in The Street’, spanning
everything from traditional country, blues & folk to western swing,
roots-rock & boogie woogie.
BUDDY & JULIE MILLER ‘Breakdown on
20th Avenue South’
It’s been 10 long years since their award winning collaboration
‘Written In Chalk’, but finally we have a sequel! Once again high-
lighting Julie’s sublime songwriting & their ragged harmony borne of
centuries-old Appalachian folk imbued with honky-tonk laced rock &
RHIANNON GIDDENS ‘There Is No Other’
Produced by JOE HENRY, this album traces the overlooked
movement of sounds from Africa & the Arabic world & their
influence on European & American music... illuminating the
universality of music & the human experience.
OPEN 7 DAYS
24 Block Place Melbourne 3000
MAIL ORDER WELCOME
PHONE 9654 1110
CHECK OUR WEBSITE
NEW RELEASES LISTS!
UPCOMING RELEASES JUNE
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