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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Hollyfelds - Title Stealers

The Hollyfelds - Title Stealers
2012, The Hollyfelds
Don’t get me wrong, The Hollyfelds are a band of incomparable musicians with an all-star at every position.  But if the band is comprised of all-stars, then it might be fair to say that they have two vocalists who at least get on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.  Kate Grigsby and Eryn Hoerig bring different timbres to the microphone that work wonderfully well on their own; but when those two voices combine the very angels cry in their beer.  The Hollyfelds continue to quietly build their resume as one of the finest Indie country acts in music with their fourth album, Title Stealers.

Title Stealers opens with "18 Years", a jailhouse love song involving half a lifetime spent in prison for another's crime. This incredibly catchy number feels like a Johnny Cash outtake with Loretta Lynn on vocals. "32nd Street" is a vibrant country rocker about the fickle nature of love. The ladies of the Hollyfelds are in their best collective voice, blending their respective sounds perfectly. The Hollyfelds rip things up on the wonderfully dysfunctional "Kill You First". Trying to get this time out of your head once you've heard is about as impossible as standing still while it’s on.

The Hollyfelds take listeners out for a waltz in "You Can't Remember", a melancholy song of unrequited love with a twist. Kate Grigsby is in fine voice in a song with the feel of a classic country ballad and just a hint o modern edge. "My Poor Father" details the struggle between father and son over his son's artistic tendencies. It's a classic struggle over choosing the best path. The ladies of the Hollyfelds put on a vocal master class here. "Handmade Paper" takes a sad story and turns it into a jaunty country number that you'll find difficult to get out of your head. The chorus here is key - absolutely classic. "Without Cryin'" is well written and performed, but falls into an overindulgence of repetition toward the end, ostensibly to underline its point. This may work, but it feels like a weak turn.

The Hollyfelds right the ship with "Your Loving Girl", a classic themes country love ballad about the day to day of two people in love. This is one of the finest pieces of songwriting that the Hollyfelds have produced to date. "We Both Know" has a bit of a pop/country feel, and explores the detritus of a relationship that was doomed from the start. Eryn Hoerig and Kate Grigsby mesh their voices perfectly here.  "Sins" is a wonderfully dark story song that is lyrically and musically compelling. The Hollyfelds outdo themselves here with a tune that should be destined for great things. "Mama Got A DUI" is an entertaining honky-tonk romp that seems a likely love favorite. The Hollyfelds close out with "Thank You, Goodnight!” an erstwhile love song to the band's hometown of Denver, Colorado. It's a nice gentle closer that laments changes but still finds home in the familiar clubs, streets and record stores they know and love.

The Hollyfelds play and sing from that place where those humbled by life live.  Small victories and human suffering color the songs on Title Stealers, while the Hollyfelds wrap their distinctive blend of classic country, pop and rock around the amazing vocals of Eryn Hoerig and Kate Grigsby.  The Hollyfelds just seem to keep getting better with time.
Rating:           4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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