Vista Brewing Presents: “Driftwood Nights” w/ Ali Holder
Ali Holder submerges herself in the craft of writing and recording, and the process for her sophomore EP Huntress Moon was no exception. Drawing inspiration from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, Holder cut five songs at Sam Baker’s prepossessing space in the hill country of Texas, with engineer Grant Johnson at the helm. Coupling her own personal and ethereal storytelling with the bass and cello of Lindsey Verrill, Holder has created a sparse but atmospheric group of songs. This is a world of multiple universes; the triumphs of Gunslingers and Huntresses. Listening to Huntress Moon, we are reminded that Holder is unafraid to delve into the painful and the pitiful, and imagine a world beyond the visible.
Ghostly and gorgeous, country songstress Ali Holder’s voice floats luminously over aching cello and delicately strummed electric guitar on her second EP, Huntress Moon. Ranking among Austin’s brightest songwriters, she allows these five tracks to glow in their beautiful simplicity, not unlike a full moon shimmering in the dark of night.
– Austin Monthly
You can hear Patty Griffin and Brandi Carlisle peeking through “Gemini Gunslinger,” but Holder’s sound is purely her own. Slow and beautiful, the live song possesses a darker, serious tone, pairing perfectly with her lyrics of introspection, dreams, and fate.
Although Holder was raised on outlaw country in Wichita Falls, Texas, she is influenced by a broad swathe of styles including country, jazz, blues, folk and indie. “I use slashes a lot,” Holder notes. “Folk/country/blues/Americana/jazz. I don’t think I have to be any one thing.” She began writing, singing and playing guitar in junior high, and fell in love with songwriters early on- “Janis Joplin and the women of Lilith Fair had a big impact on me growing up”.
Over time, Holder discovered Texas songwriters such as Susan Gibson and Walt Wilkins, along with Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams and Tom Waits. In college, she absorbed Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Jenny Lewis and Neko Case. After completing her undergraduate degree in art education at the University of Texas at Arlington, Holder relocated to Austin in search of a larger audience. Once settled, Holder fronted two bands: the folk-leaning Ali Holder & the Broken Hearted, and R&B band Ali Holder & the Raindoggs.
In recent times, Holder has expanded her musical palate to include artists such as Brandi Carlile, Susan Tedeschi, Possessed by Paul James and Lera Lynn. These influences can occasionally be heard in the songs, but it’s her own sound — a sure voice that leans toward alto but effortlessly reaches far higher, coupled with well-targeted musical sensibilities and intelligent lyrics — that draws the listener in.
Whether her inspirations come from haunting historic sites, communing with cattle or reading Stephen King, Ali Holder clearly has creative blood coursing through her veins. Let her spill some into your ears.
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