Episode 136: Claire Holley
Air date: 6.3.2015
Given her genteel demeanor and diminutive stature, it would be easy to mistake Claire Holley for a southern debutante rather than an astute artist with considerable talents as a singer, songwriter, performer and composer. Holley possesses an innate ability to make people feel at ease, and she captivates audiences when she combines her warm spirit with a beautifully natural way of singing. Over the last two decades, the Mississippi born and bred Holley has released several albums that range in style from intimate, acoustic settings to traditional hymns, children’s songs, holiday music and full band releases, but her new album, Time in the Middle, expands her sound into some new, sonically complex territory reminiscent of producer Pierre Marchand’s work with Sarah McLachlan. One of the more remarkable aspects about her new album is that this new, expansive sonic palette was created by just Holley and a pair of carefully-selected multi-instrumentalists, Dan Phelps and Jonathan Kingham. The trio holed up in a world-class studio in the rural Northern California town of Ferndale, and the isolation yielded a focused album that will feel familiar to her devoted fans while simultaneously taking a few risks that pay rich, artistic rewards. If Holley’s angelic voice is what pulls listeners in, it’s her keen eye for detail in her lyrics that keeps them coming back.