"Jilted lovers everywhere might consider the example of Mark Holland, who parlays heartbreak into 12 spectral songs." - Jon Pareles - New York Times
“Billboard's Editors and Writers pick Their Top Ten records: 5 Mark Holland: Mutant country blues necromancy recorded by North Carolina savant.”
Chris Morris - Billboard
"Country blues so sinister it could scare the guy who scared Robert Johnson," - Rick Cornell, Independent Weekly
Holland was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 5, 1969. His first public performances came at age ten, when he sang backing vocals and played drums for a local gospel group, the Singing Disciples, in the small North Carolina town of Monroe. Through high school and college, he played with a variety of local bands, including Elephant Sun, Dionysus in Doubt, and Soul Box. Holland studied political science and history in college, and was an army infantry officer in the early 1990s. In the mid-1990s he and his twin brother, Michael, formed a roots-rock band called Jennyanykind. That band played what Steve Klinge, writing in Harp, described as "low-key, rough-and-tumble country-blues swagger." That band's best known record was Revelator (1996) on the major Elektra label.
Holland, who took the pseudonym Jule Brown, also released two records under that name while he was playing for Jennyanykind. The Magic of Jule Brown (1995) was a solo album which featured Holland playing, singing, and producing; it featured Holland's interpretations of old-school country songs. Occurrence at Jule Brown Bridge, released in 1997, was electric folk and country rock.
Holland continued to play as a solo artist, calling himself Jule Brown, but eventually added two other musicians to the band: Marvin Levi on drums and Anthony Lener on bass. Holland sang, played guitar and harmonica, and provided some percussion. In a review on Indie-Music.com his musical style was described as "‘in-the-rack’ harmonica virtuosity [with] a driving claw hammer guitar style based on Delta blues master Charley Patton."
In 2001 the band recorded an album called The Towns, the Clowns, and the Sound of Jule Brown, but could not find any label willing to release it. According to Indie-Music.com, Holland had decided, "Well, those are the breaks! At least I've got Jennyanykind to fall back on!" Shortly after that, however, Jennyanykind broke up, which was a difficult time for Holland, "especially splitting with your brother who also happens to be your twin! But we're mates now that we're not playing together." Many of the tracks from The Towns, the Clowns, and the Sound of Jule Brown appeared on Jennyanykind's last album, Peas and Collards, which was released in November of 2003.
In 2006 the lost songs from The Towns, the Clowns, and the Sound of Jule Brown were released, along with five new songs, on the album Smoke and Mirrors. These ten original songs, and one cover of roots music, all featured introspective lyrics. Klinge commented that Holland's voice was just right for the songs on the album, which "reflect the past but never mimic it." One song on the album, "Can't Get It Right," won second place in the Billboard World Song Contest in 2005. The band toured in support of the album in the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007. The band began finding favor with a wider audience in 2007; they had more gigs, larger audiences, and began opening for larger acts, such as Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Southern Culture on the Skids, Paul Thorn, Flaming Lips, Afghan Whigs, Howard Jones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Toby Keith, Shooter Jennings, Trace Adkins, Luna, Fastball and many others.
With over 100 registered songs (BMI) to his credit, he has recorded on 18 albums. Mark continues to write and perform as a solo artist (with the blues moniker “Hammock”, an Army nickname) specializing in country blues. He has contributed songs to movies (see Desert Saints with Kiefer Sutherland). Recently, along with his solo work, he has been backing Music Maker Relief artist Ironing Board Sam on guitar and backing vocals (as the Bright Mines, who also perform on their own)), and performing as a duo with his brother Mike (the Holland Brothers). With Mike, they have a label, Euramerican Soul, http://euramericansoul.com. Mark’s current websites are http://www.reverbnation.com/mrkholland and https://www.facebook.com/MarkHammockHolland.