Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, Jolie Holland, hails from Houston, TX and is on tour with her fifth album, Pints of Blood. She will be sharing her gorgeously haunted music with The Ark of Ann Arbor, accompanied by long time friend Carey Lamprecht as well as Grey Gersten.

Jolie Holland

Monday at 8 p.m.
The Ark
From $15

“I feel like playing music is really about an eternal experience,” Holland said. “You know, when you’re doing it right, you’re outside of time in a way. Performing is so restorative.”

This tour has been an even more enjoyable experience because Holland is on tour with Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside from Portland.

“They’re super beautiful people and it’s a real pleasure to be out with them,” Holland said.

Holland had been in a band called the Be Good Taynas, but felt uninterested in the direction it was heading, went back to San Francisco and came out with her first album under the title of Jolie Holland in 2003, Catalpa.

It says a lot of Holland’s talent that Tom Waits is a publicly-announced fan of her work. She’s also independently a fan of him and is particularly inspired by his album, The Black Lighter. Although, where the pretty brunette pianist, vocalist, guitarist and violinist’s current interest falls is in Neil Young’s ’70s tunes.

Neil Young was the hole in Holland’s musical education — because Houston is a very cosmopolitan place, she was exposed to a very wide array of music.

“New Orleans is kind of the cultural center of that part of the South … so I was always hearing all kinds of things,” Holland said. “I was always hearing cajun music and zydeco on the radio and you know, pop music. And then my friends and I all listened to so much music, we listened to jazz and blues and we went to a lot of punk shows.

“And then my friends were always pretty far out experimental musicians. There’s this band called Reeks and the Wrecks that is a representation of the kind of music my friends were making when I was in my teens and early twenties.”

Holland’s fascinating and sometimes dark lyrics come from itty-bitty journals she carries around and writes in when words come to mind walking through the street.

“I really like to write in my head as much as possible.” Holland said. “I feel that way it’s first about imagination and it’s not tied to any kind of limitations of the instrument.”

Holland herself is classified under more genres than your average artist, including rock, traditional, country, jazz, blues and folk. She doesn’t necessarily agree with any of these broad terms, particularly not ‘folk.’

“I think it’s (the label or genre of folk music) kind of culturally Imperialist in a way,” Holland said. “Like almost racist. It’s only what people outside say. It’s like saying that somebody else is a savage or primitive or something. It’s one of those terms because it’s not true to the actual experience of the people that do make folk music.”

She explained that genuine folk to her is pigmy music of Batwa. But that they don’t label their music as folk, that’s just what non-musicians call it and it’s not true to a personal experience of the music.

“When I think about real folk music, I think about something that’s totally specific to a culture and they’re making it themselves,” Holland said. “And to them, it’s hot shit. It’s like, that’s their shit, they fucking love that music. That’s what is totally hip to them.

“I have these really amazing friends in California who play traditional Cajun music and they’re folk musicians. A folk musician would never call me folk musician, it’s almost an insult to folk musicians to call me a folk musician.”

Holland’s music may not be folk, and may not be upbeat pop music, but it’s hot shit. The love that was put into Pints of Blood is evident in all 10 tracks.

“I think it’s (Pints of Blood) really special in terms of the people that we’re playing on it,” Holland said. “We’ve been working together for a long time so there’s a really good, shared language. When I listen to this record I feel so much camaraderie and appreciation and respect for all the musicians that worked on it.”

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