All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Terry Holley - Acoustic Covers

Terry Holley - Acoustic Covers
2010, The Standard Electrical Record Company

Terry Holley is a man living his dream.  Over the course of three months Holley recorded eleven covers of classic tunes in his home.  Mixed in a Florida studio with limited compression, the album Acoustic Covers gives life to Holley’s straightforward style of acoustic guitar play, mixing in organic and synthesized instruments.  Holley will be giving away one hundred copies of the album as Christmas gifts to family and friends this holiday season, and will also be offering Acoustic Covers for sale online in the near future.  Holley expects to lose money on Acoustic Covers, but is proceeding purely on his love for music.

Acoustic Covers is literally titled.  There isn’t much original or surprising in the eleven tracks offered here, but Holley offers consistent and loving renditions of classic rock songs one might assume were among his personal favorites.  Holley keeps the arrangements simply drawn, offering up just enough instrumental support to build a sufficient canvas to backlight his guitar-based melodies.  The results are generally very solid; while Holley never quite sets the night on fire with his guitar style, he manages to move from song to song with a bit of spirit and panache in spite of the middle-of-the-road arrangements.
Holley opens with The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream”, a straight-up instrumental read with a playful feel.  You can almost hear Holley’s smirk throughout the song.  “Splish Splash” is similarly arranged, adding light percussion this time around.  Musically solid, there’s a somewhat canned feel to this one – like slightly upbeat Muzak.  Holley shows some real bounce on Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, working some jazzy life into the transitions.  Holley keeps upping the ante here, getting some real bounce into the act as the song progresses.  Holley takes The Beatles to the music box on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” with a faithful instrumental that keeps things simple.
Holley has some fun with Pure Prairie League’s “Amie”, a sweet cover that captures the melodic heart of the song in a tight and well-played cover.  Holley then steps out on a bit of a limb with The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee”, incorporating flute and strings in a solid rendition that seems a bit more ambitious than what has come before.  The Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” is up next in a sufficiently intricate rendition that is aurally appealing.    Holley captures the snarky feel of Eric Idle’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”, offering up a light and airy reading that will leave a smile on your face.  “Obladi, Oblada” gets back to the music box Beatles feel noted earlier in a straight-up, enjoyable rendition.  Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale” is eminently reverent to the original arrangement even if it seems a bit dissociated from the emotional heart of the song.  Holley closes with Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” in a technically splendid performance.
Terry Holley certainly chases the dream on Acoustic Covers.  In this regard the album is a huge success, as Holley manages to perfect a dream long held.  Acoustic Covers is a pleasant listen that is certain to please the ears and provide for hours of solid background music.  Holley is proficient with the guitar; technically consistent and able to display the occasional spark that turns a mediocre album into an above-average one.  Acoustic Covers does tend to be a bit too straightforward at times.  It would be nice to hear Holley actually interpret the songs offered up here rather than just playing straight melody lines.  But for what it is, Acoustic Covers is worth spending a bit of time on.  And as a dream come true, you could do worse.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
 Acoustic Covers is available as a digital download from, CDBaby and iTunes.

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