It's been a while since I've written a review of an album. Like, two in the past 3 years, counting the one last week. But I like to support local kids, especially when I like their music.
The Hollyfelds get a lot of leeway in this town, and rightfully so. I think people want to say they're alt-country, but I think that comes from a misunderstanding of the term "alt-country." As fluid and flexible as genres can be, I don't think you could stretch it to fit in The Hollyfelds. They're definitely not what "country" has become, all due respect to pop-country diva Tailor Swift and ... Okay honestly I could look up a male counterpart in pop-country, but the genre (specifically pop-country) bores and nauseates me enough to give up on that.
The Hollyfelds are not, by any stretch of the imagination, pop-country, but they don't quite end up sounding like Will Oldham. I make the argument that it appears to me that they're unabashedly country, and that's why people like them. They play an unadulterated, genuine version of their overarching genre, endearing and engaging the listener beyond the disposable artists one might find oozing from commercial radio.
Their only downfall may be that their lyrical content doesn't quite match up to the tone and style of their music. Their last release left me feeling a similar way. That said, on repeat listenings, I found myself listening closely to the lyrics, finding the story in the song, ending up feeling admiration for their ability to mix less common country song fare with their throwback, 70's/early 80's (pre-Hank Williams jr.) sound.
At the end of the day, I think by avoiding pop-country/sappy/soulless lyricism and alt-country/folky/occasionally-seeming-disengenuous themes, their new release feels more like a breath of fresh air than a rehash of a genre some feel as tried, true, tired, and trite.
Full disclosure, while i may not actually know them, I like these kids. When I friended their myspace page back in the day, they recognized me at their next show. Now that's how you connect to a fan. That is not, however, how you Make a fan. You Make a fan simply by playing music that connects with people, with making a bold and true statement, with grasping expertly what it is that you're trying to accomplish, then executing it. That is The Hollyfelds.
If this in anyway sounds like something you'd like, check out their new tracks, off their album Title Stealers, which they're releasing This Friday, Nov 30th at The Soiled Dove
Hear one of them here:
Tickets to the show are here: