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Mark Holland / Press

“Kick back on the porch and enjoy this music playlist from Django Haskins dedicated to Friday nights in North Carolina. Friday night isn’t always about cashing your paycheck and making circles on the courthouse lawn. It’s also a time to reflect on the stumbles and triumphs of a week past. It’s a time to slough off daily routine and get down to the business of living fully. These songs come from North Carolina folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, rock, and jazz artists. They accompany nearly every kind of Friday night: the lonesome, the joyful, the pensive, the amorous, and yes, the raucous. And, when weather permits, they sound even better outdoors, where neighborhood dogs and bullfrogs can join in on the chorus.”

“Earlier this year they released Dueling Devils as The Holland Brothers. It showcases both sides of the Holland musical spectrum: Michael’s timeless old-time and Mark’s forward-thinking blues modulations. In tandem, The Holland Brothers reflect the dual mission of this evening’s venue: to honor history and to ensure its future.”

“The dual visions of twin brothers Mark and Michael Holland combined into a rootsy whole in 90s Triangle fixture Jennyanykind, locating somewhere between The Band, The Stones and Jon Spencer. Here, though, the Hollands divide the work down the middle and strip it back to the foundations: Michael’s five live songs feature originals, traditionals and old schoolers from Charlie Poole and WC Handy based loosely on Piedmont finger-picking; Mark’s five originals are rooted in Charley Patton’s Delta style. Michael’s sound like they were recorded by the Lomaxes; Mark’s exhibit higher fidelity, backing vox, hand-percussion and the occasional accent (harmonica, melodica), but they’re just as rough-hewn. Jennyanykind’s LPs had a tendency to wander, but here simplification reigns to the brothers’ overall benefit. —JS”

“Mark’s strength, both here and with Jennyanykind, is to capture an atmosphere where the veil between the natural and supernatural is rent. Malevolent forces are at hand, but his protagonists persevere and come to a new level of understanding, often at the expense of conventional wisdom (a good example is “Clear Tone Blues” from 2003). The griot was a storehouse of tradition, but his songs often mocked the culture around him.”

“I want my writing and song choices to reflect early blues, or blues with a direct line to the Delta style or country-blues. Charlie Patton is my all-time favorite. I love Howlin Wolf, too, and he learned from Patton. Hooker is a hero of mine and I do a lot of boogie at times. I also love Jimmy Reed and that has a lot to do with my harp playing. Skip James is another….so original. I walk around my house practicing falsetto all the time.”

“A purveyor of finely crafted Americana, Holland is crafty with his songs, alternately trading between lonesome confessiona Plus, Holland’s status and longevity has afforded him good connections, evidenced by the Dean Wareham electric guitar assistance scattered throughout. The music landscape needs guys like Mark Holland to keep the flame alive. Here’s to more releases and shows in the year ahead. ls and deftly worded metaphors.”

“Among the festival headliners are former Squirrel Nut Zippers singer Katharine Whalen and her newly-formed Katharine Whalen Trio; acoustic blues artist Mark Holland, formerly with the popular Chapel Hill band Jennyanykind; and Seth Walker of Austin, Texas, who will perform at the Halle Cultural Arts Center. ”

“Though based in Delta and country blues, Holland strives for "an originality that doesn't copy traditional blues circles." Adding the harmonica and percussion really let him create a full-bodied sound. "It's a rhythmic, pulsing, driving experience," he says.”

“When he takes the stage with his guitar, harmonica, and a tambourine strapped to his shoe, his voice is a warm, ragged moan recalling the best of Mark Knopfler. Percussionist Michael Dwiggins backs him up on a cajón, a box-like drum with a low, thumping sound that simulates a heartbeat. The celebrants somehow hush up and listen. Wearing a white shirt, tie and black pants, he looks out of place, so he keeps quietly to himself. "I like dressing like a blues musician," he later explains. "Plus I get better service when I dress like this. People actually call me 'sir.'"”

“Brother Mark's latest walkabout is the raw-boned duo Applesauce, in which he's joined by Rhythm Force member Pete Waggoner. Seven of the 10 songs on the pair's debut are originals, and the bulk live up to the "country blues" part of the title. "That's What the Blues Can Do" and "Won't You Please Help Me Find My Baby" feel truest to the form—desperate and haunted and all lean muscle, suggesting any fat was long burned off fleeing from hellhounds. "Go Rider Go" shows a familiarity with the rider character that's strutted through many a blues tune. And two expertly delivered trad numbers—"Frankie and Albert" and "Jesus Is a Dyin'-Bed Maker" (better known as "In My Time of Dying")—pinpoint Holland's historical aim, with Charley Patton arguably being the owner of the definitive versions of both.”

"BILLBOARD EDITORS AND WRITERS PICK THEIR TOP 10 RECORDS: 5, MARK HOLLAND: MUTANT COUNTRY NECROMANCY RECORDED SOLO BY NC SAVANT."

Chris Morris - Billboard

"JILTED LOVERS EVERYWHERE MIGHT CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF MARK HOLLAND WHO PARLAYS HEARTBREAK INTO 12 SPECTRAL SONGS."

John Pareles - New York Times

"COUNTRY BLUES SO SINISTER IT COULD SCARE THE GUY WHO SCARED ROBERT JOHNSON."

Rick Cornell - Indy Week
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