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Holly Gleason

Holly Gleason

Holly Gleason is a Nashville-based writer who has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, Musician, Paste, Tower Pulse, Request, Rockbill, Bam, The Illinois Entertainer, Interview, Rock & Soul and Graffiti (Canada). She specializes in songwriters, roots music, country, some r&b and very early rap.

Holly online

Holly interviewed by Larry LeBlanc

146 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

Adele: 25

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 20 November 2015

ANTICIPATION'S A BITCH. For Adele, whose bajillion-selling 21 (okay, not a bajillion, but 30 million worldwide) proved emotional exorcism is its own commercial reward, how ...

Aerosmith: Starwood Amphitheatre, Tennessee

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, October 2002

"EVERY DAY, I LOOK in the mirror/ All these lines in my face gettin' clearer/ The past is gone..." It is a benediction, an acceptance, ...

The Amazing Rhythm Aces: Russell Smith: An Ace, An Old Friend + An Echo of a Moment

Essay by Holly Gleason, hollygleason.com, 15 July 2019

THIRTY THOUSAND OR so feet above everything, late and tired. With the ear buds in, the demos – all top shelf kind of awesome – ...

Tori Amos: Gold Dust

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 2 October 2012

ALL THE WAY BACK to Y Kan't Tori Read, Tori Amos has always been the feral Kate Bush — slightly more muscular, possibly more grounded ...

The Bangles: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 15 June 1989

Heroines Take a Fall ...

Matraca Berg: Dreaming Fields

Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 13 May 2011

I SHOULDN'T be writing this. It's not right. ...

Matraca Berg: The Daughter of Music Row

Retrospective and Interview by Holly Gleason, Oxford American, 22 January 2014

A SLIGHT, YOUNG brunette stood alone in a navy Richard Tyler slip on the Opry House stage, backed by a pianist and a string quartet, ...

Cindy Lee Berryhill: Naked Movie Star (Rhino)

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 29 June 1989

CINDY LEE Berryhill comes across as a mixture of beat poet, street waif and social gadfly — a dangerous combination that threatens to slide into ...

Bikini Kill: Revolution Girl Style Now

Retrospective by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 October 2015

BEFORE THE INTERNET'S UBIQUITY, the 140-character Twitterverse and more, DIY punk meant hanging your own flyers and hand-stapled fanzines. In 1991, Bikini Kill — a ...

Bonnie Bishop: Ain't Who I Was

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 June 2016

HOLLOW BASS CASCADING over a sunken groove, slinky guitar etching the melody and a palpable humidity establish 'Show A Little Mercy' as a satiny ribbon ...

Clint Black: Killin' Time (MCA) ***½

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 24 August 1989

IN TODAY'S brave new Nashville, artists fall into neat categories: the docile crooners, like Randy Travis and George Strait, who sing pretty and pretty much ...

Blondie: Panic of Girls

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 14 September 2011

WHEN NEW WAVE ERUPTED on the back-end of punk, there was Blondie, all crisp beats, silent screen star peroxide beauty and a sense of '50s ...

Garth Brooks: In Pieces (Liberty 80857; CD and cassette)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 26 September 1993

A Megastar for Everyman ...

Jackson Browne: Standing In The Breach

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 28 October 2014

"IT'S NEVER BEEN THAT HARD to buy a gun/Now they'll sell a Glock 19 to just about anyone," muses Jackson Browne midway through 'The Long ...

Jackson Browne: Cain Park, Cleveland

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 20 August 2012

FOR JACKSON BROWNE, like James Taylor, a summer stop in Cleveland, Ohio is like the swallows returning to Capistrano. Throughout the '70s, the socially conscious ...

Richard Buckner: Surrounded

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 September 2013

CIRCULAR ACOUSTIC GUITAR NOTES shower down as Richard Buckner's voice, a tad quavering and common enough to seem to sing for us all, rises from ...

Ben Bullington, Rodney Crowell: Rodney Crowell, Ben Bullington and More: Station Inn, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 7 December 2012

BEN BULLINGTON had never played Nashville. The Montana doctor who'd lovingly crafted three albums thick with simple details and a voice that has a warm ...

T Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp: T-Bone Burnett on Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Review and Interview by Holly Gleason, Paste, 31 May 2013

"I DON'T HAVE ANY HOPES FOR IT," T Bone Burnett confesses about Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the Stephen King/John Mellencamp collaborative play/performance experience he ...

The Cars, Ric Ocasek: You're All I've Got Tonight: Brush Your Rock& Roll Hair, Ric Ocasek's Gone To Heaven

Memoir by Holly Gleason, hollygleason.com, September 2019

IT WAS COLD, steely but not metal. It swirled and encircled you like a cartoon vine, only it was staccato – and the beat was so evident. ...

Rosanne Cash: The River & The Thread

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 21 January 2014

LIKE A GOOD claret or damp moss, Rosanne Cash's singing is something to sink into. Surrender to the tones – mostly dark, but marked by ...

Civil Wars, the: The Civil Wars: The Civil Wars

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 August 2013

PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS — or coal dust. For The Civil Wars, the triple Grammy-winners whose stark acoustica shook pop music, it created both. Amongst their ...

Guy Clark: My Favorite Picture Of You

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 23 July 2013

AS HE ENTERS HIS 70TH YEAR, Guy Clark consolidates his standing as the eminence grise of Texas singer/songwriters with My Favorite Picture of You. A ...

Guy Clark: Old Friends (Sugar Hill) ***½

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 9 March 1989

THIS IS THE first album in five years by Guy dark, one of the deans of Texas songwriting. Like his previous work, Old Friends evokes ...

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 16 August 2011

GUY CLARK'S ALWAYS BEEN CHARMING, and that easy graciousness can obscure the exacting quality of his writing. Few can split a moment open with such ...

Guy Clark: Randall Knives, Desperados & Homegrown Tomatoes

Memoir by Holly Gleason, The Bitter Southerner, 2016

IT'S 6:42 in the morning, and traffic ain't moving. There's no notion of how far this snake of pick-ups, sedans, mini vans twists and lays ...

Guy Clark, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett: Lyle Lovett/Joe Ely/Guy Clark/John Hiatt: State Theatre, Cleveland

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 30 April 2007

YOU HAVE TO start at the end – where they paid respects to Townes Van Zandt, the songwriter/compadre who captured the essence of life after ...

Shawn Colvin: Cover Girl (Columbia 57875; CD and cassette.)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 20 November 1994

COVER GIRL, the singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin's third album, seems like a cop-out. The silvery-voiced troubadour has earned critical praise for her emotionally incisive lyrics. Yet ...

Cowboy Junkies Shoot For Success

Interview by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 9 March 1989

NASHVILLE'S BLUEBIRD CAFE is packed for the local debut of the Cowboy Junkies. The Canadian bands lethargic cover of 'Sweet Jane' has been talked up ...

Crazy Horse, Neil Young: Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 June 2012

ONLY NEIL YOUNG could take the campfire chestnut 'Oh, Susannah' and turn it into something that demands The Frug. But Young opens Americana, his folk'n'protest ...

Rodney Crowell: Close Ties

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 27 March 2017

FOR A SONG CYCLE that turns around death and mortality, Rodney Crowell's Close Ties is a decidedly jubilant affair. Co-produced by Kim Buie and Jordan ...

Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 27 February 2013

ON 'HANGING UP MY HEART' and Roger Miller's vintage 'Invitation To The Blues', Old Yellow Moon's opening tracks, Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris seem to ...

Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: The Traveling Kind

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 26 May 2015

IF OLD YELLOW MOON, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell's first-ever duet album, felt like old friends catching up and remembering old times, The Traveling Kind ...

D'Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 30 December 2014

AT MIDNIGHT ON DEC. 15, 14 years dissolved. One key-stroke, and the mythic follow-up to D'Angelo's Voodoo could be yours. Luxurious, raw, crashed-up, silky, a ...

The Decemberists: Long Live The King

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 31 October 2011

WITH THE DECEMBERISTS, it's a safe bet that somewhere between the post-Brit-folk of Fairport Convention and Morrissey's darkness, leader Colin Meloy will emerge with a ...

Ani DiFranco: Binary

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 19 May 2017

LIKE A FAVORITE CHAIR, it's easy to take Ani DiFranco for granted. Always there, always as expected, always comfortable/satisfying in her execution, it's easy to ...

The Dixie Chicks: There's Your Trouble: Considering the Dixie Chicks controversy, with hindsight 20/20

Retrospective and Interview by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 23 May 2017

IT WAS EARLY 2003. The Dixie Chicks were easily the biggest girl group in history — and also the biggest act in country music post–Garth ...

Dr. John: Locked Down

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 4 April 2012

TO LIVE AND BREATHE in the sketchiest part of the Quarter...to hustle and flow, to let go... to get saved and find a funky kind ...

Steve Earle: A Bad Boy Settles Down

Report and Interview by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 26 January 1989

STEVE EARLE recently released his third album, Copperhead Road, and married his fifth wife, Teresa. Considering that last New Year's Day found him in a ...

Justin Townes Earle: Kids In The Street

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 23 May 2017

OTHER THAN THE CLASSIC Western shuffle 'What's She Crying For', with its piano sprinkles and steel guitar swerves, Kids In The Street marks the emancipation ...

Steve Earle: Terraplane

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 17 February 2015

ON THE RANDY, low-flying Stones-evoking 'Go Go Boots Are Back,' Steve Earle scrapes the same guttural rock 'n' roll that made 'Copperhead Road' so compelling. ...

Eels: The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 22 April 2014

THERE'S AN INHERENT SOFT-FOCUS to Mark Everett's worldview. His jagged details scrape your flesh to the bone, but his bitterness or rancor is tempered with ...

Robert Ellis: The Lights from the Chemical Plant

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 11 February 2014

LIKE SAM SHEPARD, Robert Ellis understands the tenderness beneath the untamed's leathery exterior. Born and raised in Lake Jackson, Texas, recently relocated to nouveau hipster ...

Karen Elson: Double Roses

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 April 2017

IN THE SEVEN YEARS since Karen Elson's The Ghost Who Walks, there have been glimpses of the woman who was to emerge on Double Roses. ...

Alejandro Escovedo: Big Station

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 June 2012

WITH A BRAZEN SWAGGER drawn from Alejandro Escovedo's punk roots, the 61-year-old songwriter/yowler declares, "I can take a punch, I can take a swing…" on ...

Rosie Flores, George Highfill, Michelle Shocked, Dwight Yoakam: Producer Pete Anderson Leads Calif.'s Gold Rush

Report and Interview by Holly Gleason, Billboard, 16 July 1988

LOS ANGELES — With the success of Dwight Yoakam's gold albums (Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and Hillbilly Deluxe), producer Pete Anderson has found a beachhead ...

John Fogerty: Wrote A Song for Everyone

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 28 May 2013

JOHN FOGERTY'S GUESTS on Wrote A Song for Everyone may provide a pupu platter of genres, but the country/rock/progressive duet partners more often serve as ...

Steve Forbert: Strange Names & New Sensations

Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 31 May 2007

WHEN 'ROMEO'S TUNE' bubbled out of late '70s car radios, it was a wide-eyed kid from the small-town south trying to get the girl with ...

Lita Ford: Lita

Interview by Holly Gleason, Spin, August 1988

IT'S A SLOW night at the Redwood Room, a shot-and-beer North Hollywood hole in the wall where blue collar types, in heavy work boots and ...

Robbie Fulks: Gone Away Backward

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 27 August 2013

ALWAYS THE CONTENTIOUS KIND, Robbie Fulks flexes the old Tareyton Cigarettes mode of doing business: "I'd rather fight than switch." To that end, he's remained ...

Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 19 May 2016

BEFORE STURGILL SIMPSON or Chris Stapleton, there was Robbie Fulks: a hardcore alt-country sensation, writing subversive songs like his Nashville anti-Valentine 'Fuck This Town', 'She ...

Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 20 February 2017

ALWAYS AMBITIOUS, Americana/traditional folk artist Rhiannon Giddens uses Freedom Highway, her second solo album, for a contemporary end: tracing the roots of the BlackLivesMatter movement ...

Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Wronglers: Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland

Live Review by Holly Gleason, nodepression.com, 21 June 2011

THEY CALL IT Heirloom Music, going so far as to make it the title of their first collaborative recording; but for Jimmie Dale Gilmore and ...

Patty Griffin: American Kid

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 7 May 2013

WITH A BIT OF JUKE-JOINT loose blues strumming rising from a National guitar, Patty Griffin leans into 'Don't Let Me Die In Florida' with a ...

Patty Griffin: Servant of Love

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 4 October 2015

"AMBULANCE DRIVERS and grave diggers/Mislaid fortunes grown bigger and bigger/Polar ice caps below and above/Conquered and claimed and ruined for love," Patty Griffin's porous, earthy ...

Nanci Griffith: Intersection

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 April 2012

"I'M STILL GONE and it's all the same/ I'm taking notes and naming names…" snarls Nanci Griffith on the churlish, Pogues-evoking-the-Everlys 'Hell No, I'm Not ...

Merle Haggard: Long Gone Train

Interview by Holly Gleason, Spin, September 1988

Merle Haggard's gone from hopping freights and serving time to being country music's strongest and truest voice. He's never looked back. But he's never forgotten ...

Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball

Retrospective by Holly Gleason, Paste, 8 April 2014

WHEN EMMYLOU HARRIS MADE Wrecking Ball, the atmospheric meditation on the unbearable lightness of being, it appeared the diaphanous vocalist had been gate-checked by the ...

John Hiatt: Terms of My Surrender

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 15 July 2014

"SOMETIMES LOVE CAN BE SO WRONG/ Like a fat man in a thong/ It walks shamelessly away," John Hiatt intones over the sauntering acoustic blues ...

Lilly Hiatt: Royal Blue

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 3 March 2015

IF LENA DUNHAM is her generation's bullseye for narcissistic neurosis, then Lilly Hiatt is the Gen X/Y femme intellectuelle who uses hurt, doubt and self-knowledge ...

Chrissie Hynde: Stockholm

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 14 June 2014

FOR A WOMAN with a voice like an open (if rough-edged) straight razor, Chrissie Hynde chose a smooth retro-pop vein to slash into for her ...

Jason Isbell: The Highway Loves The Sin

Review and Interview by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 June 2013

"I REMEMBER THAT PLACE being this mythical hellhole," Jason Isbell says quietly. He's not speaking of the addiction he's recently kicked, but the place of ...

Alan Jackson: 30 Miles West, and Movin'

Profile and Interview by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 30 May 2012

"So here I am on my stool tonight Yeah, I'm practicing for the afterlife, Cause when I'm nothing but a pile of bones I'm gonna ...

Wanda Jackson: Unfinished Business

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 9 October 2012

WITH A VOICE LIKE A CHAINSAW swallowed by a little girl, Wanda Jackson's brand of "shake 'em up, baby" is as kitten-with-a-whip as ever. The ...

Robert Earl Keen: Ready For Confetti

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 30 August 2011

SOMEWHERE IN THE GULF between Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell and Lyle Lovett and next wave Lone Stars Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Stoney ...

Alicia Keys: Girl on Fire

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 4 December 2012

WITH A FEW CAREFULLY CONSIDERED piano notes, 'De Novo Adagio' reminds fans of soul diva Alicia Keys' classical roots and sets the stage for an ...

Bobby Keys: The Bobby Keys Band: Mercy Lounge, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 3 May 2011

THERE ARE FEW musicians synonymous with an oeuvre or a sound, yet Bobby Keys pretty much defines rock & roll saxophone, especially of the Rolling ...

Kopecky: Drug for the Modern Age

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 28 May 2015

FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE KOPECKY FAMILY BAND, this Nashville sextet brings an eyes-open approach to the world of hooking up, checking out, disappearing into technology ...

Alison Krauss: Crossing County Lines: Jerry Douglas + Alison Krauss Call Their Friends for Americana Night

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 3 June 2013

AMERICANA – as the big tent pitched by the Americana Music Association – is its own conundrum. Drawing an audience that's decidedly 30+, it embraces ...

Alison Krauss: Let Me Touch You For A While: Alison Krauss Creates Intimacy Amongst the Disenfranchised

Essay by Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, 16 September 2002

THERE IT WAS ONE DAY – propped against my doorway in West Hollywood – a plain brown cardboard box like so many others. Anonymous. Almost ...

Kris Kristofferson: Feeling Mortal

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 12 February 2013

AT 76, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON is one of Americana's true icons. A witness to old-school hillbilly music, rock's excess, punk's rebellion and modern country, the Rhodes ...

Nikki Lane: All or Nothin'

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 6 May 2014

IF LANA DEL RAY HAD PORES, bodily fluids or even the rare hair out of place, she might be Nikki Lane, the East Nashville firebrand ...

k.d. lang: Shadowland: The Owen Bradley Sessions (Sire)

Review by Holly Gleason, Musician, July 1988

LISTENING TO Shadowland, k.d. lang's second album, you can't help thinking you've fallen into a time warp, back to when Patsy Cline ruled the radio. ...

k.d. lang: k.d.lang: Absolute Torch and Twang

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 13 July 1989

Absolute Torch and Twang – the third major-label LP by Canadian chanteuse K.D. Lang and the second with her band the Reclines – splits the ...

k.d. lang: kd lang: Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Harp, March 2008

KD LANG WALKED onstage, guitar on her back and glided effortlessly into 'Upstream', a song about the nature of life, the struggle of human nature ...

Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller: Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale: Mercy Lounge, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 7 March 2013

BUDDY MILLER and Jim Lauderdale have been friends so long, making a record seemed almost beside the point. They've played in each other's band, recorded ...

Bettye LaVette: Thankful N' Thoughtful

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 25 September 2012

BETTYE LAVETTE'S VOICE, sanded raw and consumed by emotion, is a powerful witness: strong, down and above all, real. Those attributes infuse Thankful N' Thoughtful ...

Lissie: My Wild West

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 12 February 2016

LISSIE, IN MANY WAYS, is emblematic of the millennial/post-millennial generation's golden promise: follow your dream, work social media, find believers, win! Moving to California, her ...

Little Steven: Soulfire

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 22 May 2017

STRIP AWAY THE SOPRANOS, the Underground Garage, the bandana-clad Springsteen sidekick role, the hyper-political Sun City all-star single and what you get is a true ...

Lorde: Pure Heroine

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 October 2013

"DON'T YOU THINK that it's boring how people talk," Lorde hypnotically intones as Pure Heroine, her wildly anticipated debut opens on the confessional 'Tennis Court'. ...

Lyle Lovett: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (MCA/Curb) ****

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 9 February 1989

LYLE LOVETT has always been a little bit schizophrenic. A Nashville musician with big-band leanings, Lovett has somehow managed to gracefully walk the line between ...

Lyle Lovett: Pontiac (MCA)

Review by Holly Gleason, Musician, April 1988

LYLE LOVETT represents a new voice in Nashville: the quirky country songwriter who believes that even cowboys get the blues. Consequently, this Texan's viewpoint can ...

Lyle Lovett: Release Me

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 29 February 2012

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN Leonard Cohen and Bob Wills lies the Promised Land inhabited by Lyle Lovett, who balances elegantly broken romanticism with loose-jointed swing that shuffles ...

Shelby Lynne: I Can't Imagine

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 11 May 2015

IF 2011'S SELF-PRODUCED, self-released Revelation Road was Shelby Lynne leveling and exorcising the ghosts of her past, I Can't Imagine harvests the remaining sweetness of ...

Shelby Lynne: Groove Girl

Interview by Holly Gleason, Paste, 11 May 2015

"AS I STAND HERE TALKING TO YOU," Shelby Lynne confesses, on the phone from her Palm Springs home, "I have no clothes on. I can ...

Kathy Mattea: Station Inn, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Harp, March 2008

IT'S AMAZING how expansive Kathy Mattea's old leaves and fall rainwater alto can be. With just a few acoustic guitar notes cascading around her on ...

The Mavericks: In Time

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 27 February 2013

NASHVILLE HAD NEVER quite heard the likes of The Mavericks, a Miami five-piece with a retro countrypolitan lean and a Cuban-American lead singer with a ...

The Mavericks: Mono

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 February 2015

ON THE LAMENTING 'Pardon Me', Raul Malo's voice extends on the final word of a particularly lonesome "life I chose to lead", and it somehow ...

Reba McEntire: Read My Mind (MCA 10994; CD and cassette)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 12 June 1994

NOBODY TRICK ropes vocally like Reba McEntire. With stunning control, she can twirl, curl and throw a loop around a melody better than anyone. ...

Lori McKenna: Dreams of an Everyday Housewife

Profile and Interview by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 31 August 2007

LORI MCKENNA has always loved the same boy. She first laid eyes on him in third grade. They started dating in their junior year, married ...

Buddy and Julie Miller: Buddy & Julie Miller: Buddy & Julie Miller

Review by Holly Gleason, Cleveland Free Times, 2001

WHAT IS THE sound of marriage hardfought, hardscrabble, hardwon? Is it Yoko Ono's dissonant shrieking? Trent Reznor's most post-ndustrial cacophony? Or the ruminations on various ...

Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 September 2013

AN ENNIO MORRICONE SONIC VISTA opens The Electric Lady, the sequel to Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid, making its ambition obvious. Overture burning off, a tugging ...

Eddie Money: Take Me Home Tonight: Eddie Money Passes, Regular Guy Rock Hits Heaven Between The Eyes

Memoir by Holly Gleason, hollygleason.com, 23 September 2019

"UHN... hold on... UHN, hold on ta me tighter Never gonna leave you Now (gasping for air) Can't you please believe me now..." ...

Ashley Monroe: Like A Rose

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 12 March 2013

TO LOOK AT THE PRETTY GIRL in the sundress under the parasol, Ashley Monroe could be one more Southern belle looking for her place in ...

Alanis Morissette: Havoc & Bright Lights

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 28 August 2012

WHEN BARELY POST-ADOLESCENT Alanis Morissette exploded spewing vitrol and bodily fluids with her raging accusation of the spurned, 'You Oughta Know' from the mega-hit Jagged ...

Kacey Musgraves: Pageant Material

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 23 June 2015

"I'VE HAD MY PICTURE MADE with Willie Nelson/Stayed in a hotel with a pool," Kacey Musgraves trills early on Pageant Material, "Slept in a room ...

Kacey Musgraves: Same Trailer, Different Park

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 26 March 2013

KACEY MUSGRAVES, 23, sings unvarnished truths about being hooked on "Mary Kay, Mary Jane and Mary down the block," but she's maintained the sunniness that ...

Randy Newman: Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 18 May 1989

Old Four Eyes Is Back ...

Nickel Creek: A Dotted Line

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 April 2014

FROM SEAN WATKINS' FIRST commanding acoustic guitar strokes on 'The Rest of My Life', it's obvious Nickel Creek has grown up. Sister Sara Watkins' fiddle ...

Stevie Nicks: 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 15 October 2014

LISTENING TO 24 Karat Gold is like being caught in a time warp. Then is now, now is then, and the listener feels confronted by ...

Conor Oberst: Salutations

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 21 March 2017

GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO. Growing up a wunderkind in public — your youth commodified as a talisman of sensitive youth — creates an ...

Old Crow Medicine Show: Remedy

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 July 2014

WITH 'BRUSHY MOUNTAIN CONJUGAL TRAILER', Remedy's dobro-dripping opener, Old Crow Medicine Show offers a salty, bawdy bit of old-time music basted with tangy strummin' and ...

Van Dyke Parks: Songs Cycled

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 23 July 2013

WITH A NOD to his wonderfully eclectic 1968 debut Song Cycle, legendary arranger/songwriter/producer Van Dyke Parks returns with the postcards from everywhere, Songs Cycled. Whether ...

Dolly Parton: Better Day

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 28 June 2011

"GRINDSTONES AND RHINESTONES, that made up my life," Dolly Parton writes on the driving 'The Sacrifice', a dobro-laced song about work ethic and commitment, "but ...

Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 13 May 2014

BEFORE DOLLY PARTON was country music's Mae West, she was a crystal-voiced songwriter who captured Appalachia's tiniest moments like fireflies in a jar. On Blue ...

Robert Plant: lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 9 September 2014

CINEMATIC. ORGANIC. DERVISH. Delta. Industrial. Celtic. Tribal. Gypsy. Yearning. Thrilling. The words to describe lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, Robert Plant's 10th solo album, are endless. ...

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: The Lion The Beast The Beat

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 19 June 2012

IT MUST BE FRUSTRATING to be Grace Potter. So much talent, such a fierce band, the kind of charisma that can't be taught, exuding sex ...

Grace Potter: Anything But Nocturnal

Review and Interview by Holly Gleason, Paste, 11 August 2015

GRACE POTTER SQUEALS midway through her last interview of the day. The mention of Donna Summer's street opera Bad Girls hits a nerve, and the ...

Grace Potter: With Daylight Grace Potter Returns (from a Messy Midnight)

Interview by Holly Gleason, American Songwriter, 27 November 2019

GRACE POTTER IS BACK, and you can blame it on Gwen Stefani. ...

John Prine: Innocent Days

Interview by Holly Gleason, Paste, 23 November 2011

"FIONA MADE ME CLEAN OUT THE GARAGE," John Prine confesses with a chuckle that's equal parts warm breeze, cold beer and fried chicken. "I cursed ...

John Prine: Songs from the Gut: A Conversation with John Prine

Interview by Holly Gleason, No Depression, Fall 2016

JOHN PRINE, the original "new Dylan", has always written songs with a deep heart and a strong empathy for the people who go unseen. ...

Chuck Prophet: Temple Beautiful

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 8 February 2012

NOT SINCE LOU REED paid homage to the city and era that forged him with New York has there been a song cycle dedicated to ...

Bonnie Raitt: Dig In Deep

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 4 March 2016

BONNIE RAITT HAS ALWAYS BEEN a pilot light, powering hard love, broken love, lost love and yes, unrequited love. In the valley of the unfulfilled ...

Bonnie Raitt: Slipstream

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 10 April 2012

IT'S BEEN SEVEN YEARS since Bonnie Raitt released Souls Alike, and a lot of life has happened. Losing her parents, brother and a best friend ...

Robert Randolph & The Family Band: Lickety Split

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 16 July 2013

SINCE BURSTING into public consciousness, sacred steel prodigy Robert Randolph has straddled the worlds of the holy and the profane. On the jam band circuit, ...

Lou Reed: Transformed

Interview by Holly Gleason, American Songwriter, 2 January 2009

HE IS sitting right there on the sidewalk, eating red snapper, heavy-lidded eyes taking in the world around him and engaging with the various people ...

Keith Richards: Crosseyed Heart

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 15 September 2015

AS ROCK'S ENDURING PIRATE, Keith Richards embodies swagger, sangfroid and a certain delicious naughtiness. More than the Stones themselves, the guitarist exudes a dirt 'n' ...

Linda Ronstadt: Feels Like Home (Elektra; CD and cassette)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 9 April 1995

Linda Ronstadt Comes Full Circle ...

Linda Ronstadt: Ronstadt's Rainstorm Of Emotion

Interview by Holly Gleason, CD Review, March 1990

LINDA RONSTADT enters the press room at a trade magazine's office in Los Angeles with her five-person entourage, and immediately manages to find familiar territory ...

Leon Russell: Life Journey

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 April 2014

LEON RUSSELL'S VOICE sounds like parched earth, cracked and its essence crawled out: raw, blistering, molten to the touch and savory in all the right ...

Jill Scott: The Light of the Sun

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 27 June 2011

JILL SCOTT REPRESENTS the modern thinking woman's evolved boho grit and dreams. Not one to buy into the fairy tales, she refuses to surrender the ...

Earl Scruggs Passes On: Three Fingers, Hippie Kids + A Grace That's Felt 'Round The World

Memoir by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 28 March 2012

I'LL NEVER LOOK at the Waffle House the same way. The one out by the Assault & Battery Lane exit, 65 South out of Nashville, ...

Billy Joe Shaver: Tramp on Your Street (Zoo/Praxis 72445-11063; CD and cassette)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 3 October 1993

AT A TIME when country music has been reduced to an arena-ready formula, Billy Joe Shaver is a blotch on the horizon. Unapologetically raw, the ...

Michelle Shocked: Short, Sharp, Talented

Profile and Interview by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 3 November 1988

Is country-folk singer Michelle Shocked ready for stardom? ...

Connie Smith: Honoring Connie Smith: 45 RPM at Douglas Corner, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 7 November 2012

FOR THOSE WHO believe real country music has fled Nashville, the recent CMA Awards would do little to ease your notion. Bombast, smoke, lasers and ...

Mavis Staples: One True Vine

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 25 June 2013

"SOME HOLY GHOST KEEPS ME HANGING ON," Mavis Staples intones over and over a loosely strummed acoustic guitar, world-weary yet resolved on the opening track ...

Joss Stone: LP1

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 25 July 2011

SOUL CHILD JOSS STONE grew up going toe-to-toe and holding her own with some of classic R&B's finest, and that old soul presence made for ...

Joss Stone: Water For Your Soul

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 14 July 2015

JOSS STONE, modern queen of the timeless old-school soul, has propelled herself into a project merging hip hop, reggae, world music and R&B. Her tenure ...

Joe Strummer 1952-2002

Obituary by Phast Phreddie Patterson, Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, December 2002

PHAST PHREDDIE PATTERSON and HOLLY GLEASON pay tribute ...

Donna Summer: 
Last Dance... and Gone

Memoir by Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, 17 May 2012

IN THAT FLOOD of ebony hair, there was always that one gardenia. Floating on top of the satiny waves of almost-porn star mane, it spoke ...

The Tedeschi Trucks Band

Profile and Interview by Holly Gleason, Relix, 9 September 2011

TWO JUBILANT kids are dancing amid a gaggle of homegrown hippie girls in the wings of the Savannah Civic Center in Georgia. The Civic has ...

Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience : 2 of 2

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 October 2013

AFTER SEVEN YEARS, Justin Timberlake knew: The 20/20 Experience could be too much of a good thing. Keeping the focus sleek, its pop/soul songs come ...

Travis Tritt: Hillbilly Rock

Interview by Holly Gleason, Hits, 9 July 1990

AN EXCLUSIVE HITS INTERVIEW WITH TRAVIS TRITT BY HOLLY GLEASON ...

Veruca Salt: American Thighs (Minty Fresh/DGC; CD and cassette)

Review by Holly Gleason, The New York Times, 19 February 1995

THE ONLY buzz louder than the feedback-laden guitars on Veruca Salt's American Thighs is the hype surrounding the Chicago-based foursome. This alternative rock group is ...

Veruca Salt: Ghost Notes

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 7 July 2015

VERUCA SALT BURST ONTO THE SCENE a caterwauling ball of sonic combustion, clawing, sneering, scratching with American Thighs in 1994. Named for Roald Dahl's tantrum-throwing ...

Rufus Wainwright: Out of the Game

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 1 May 2012

FEW PEOPLE TWIST the opposing aesthetics of lush and stark with the dexterity of Rufus Wainwright, the chanteuse with the steady aim on broken hearts ...

Watkins Family Hour: Watkins Family Hour

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 14 July 2015

OFTEN COLLABORATIONS of wildly talented people fall short of the pieces, or force an outcome that feels designed to an end. For the Watkins Family ...

Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams: Jimmy Webb/Paul Williams: Feinstein's at the Regency, Nashville

Live Review by Holly Gleason, Joe's Garage, 17 November 2001

WHEN YOU PUT Paul Williams and Jimmy Webb in a room, you basically have the collective soundtrack of the late '60s and '70s in pop ...

Holly Williams: The Highway

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 12 February 2013

HOLLY WILLIAMS HAS WRASSLED all kinds of mainstream Nashville fringe: hippie country, postmodern country, even "kinda sorta" country. But all those records from the Nordic ...

Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 5 February 2016

IN THE LATE '80S, Lucinda Williams emerged as the patron saint of busted love and broken dreams. Lucinda Williams and Sweet Old World established her ...

Joy Williams: Venus

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 30 June 2015

IF JOY WILLIAMS weren't the distaff half of the Grammy-winning Civil Wars, Venus might play like a late 20th century single-sex college's elite women's studies ...

Dwight Yoakam: Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room

Review by Holly Gleason, Rolling Stone, 20 October 1988

SINCE FOCUSING the public eye on his archival brand of country music with Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. two years ago, Dwight Yoakam has been good ...

Dwight Yoakam: 3 Pears

Review by Holly Gleason, Paste, 18 September 2012

A CASCADING BASS LINE that evokes the work of Motown's James Jamerson, all fat, swollen and narcotically melodic, opens 3 Pears, Dwight Yoakam's return to ...

Warren Zevon: The French Inhaler Hastens Down The Wind: Warren Zevon Learns To Let Go

Essay by Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, October 2002

THERE'S THAT THING called friend-of-a-friend, where you're "in" even before you know about the other person. And so it was with Warren Zevon, produced by ...

List of genre pieces

Nashville Cats: David Briggs Reflects at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Report by Holly Gleason, No Depression, 26 March 2011

Nashville Cats: David Briggs at Ford Theatre, Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, TN ...

The World's Oldest Teenager: Remembering Jane Scott

Obituary by Holly Gleason, Los Angeles Times blogs, 4 July 2011

SHE WAS LIKE Andy Warhol: iconic blond hair set in a most determined pageboy that never moved. That, and red oversized glasses. You couldn't miss ...

Ooooh Las Vegas! 37 Stories, and It's All Out There…

Essay by Holly Gleason, Rock's Backpages, 24 November 2001

Country music publicist Holly Gleason spends a night in Sin City – and comes to terms with the celebrity frenzy that is pop's new American ...

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