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Lonnie Holley : Keeping A Record Of It

If Lonnie Holley‘s life story was made into a movie, it would be a sure-fire Oscar winner: we all know how much the Academy loves biographical pictures about artists conquering adversity (Ray, Walk The Line), and Holley has had it harder than most. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950 as the seventh of twenty seven children, he grew up on the streets and in foster homes, working from the age of five, robbed of his youth; in 1979 he created his first works of art, carving tombstones for two of his sister’s children from materials he found discarded by a foundry near her house. What Holley believes was divine intervention led to a new life as a sculptor, and eventual artistic recognition, with his work exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American Folk Art Museum and even the White House. Adding to a resume that also includes drawing, painting and photography, Keeping A Record Of It (out September 3 via Dust-To-Digital) is 63 year-old Holley’s second venture into recorded music (after last year’s Just Before Music), a collection of improvised synthesizer songs, hymns and acapella spirituals that would make an equally award-worthy soundtrack to his biopic. Mercurial and meandering, the seven tracks here – including “From The Other Side Of The Pulpit“, a 13 minute jam recorded with Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and Cole Alexander of the Black Lips – shift and swell with Holley’s growled stream-of-consciousness poetry, taking in subjects as diverse as the Queen’s birthday and the global economic crisis; songs of praise for those unsure as to where their faith lies. Check out “Six Space Shuttles and 144,000 Elephants” below.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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