The countryside around Athens, Ga. has its own brand of voodoo. Folk art crops up around each bend and experimental music is tucked back in those green hills. Smalls towns whose names you thought were only obscure REM lyrics are homes to old timers and young artists alike — and to U.K.-born Holly Golightly and her cohort, Lawyer Dave (aka one-man backing band The Brokeoffs).
“I don’t not care about modern music, I don’t really know about it,” Golightly once told an interviewer. “There isn’t really anything new in music. It doesn’t exist.” And yet her take on honky tonk-noir, with surf-guitar licks and slinky backbeats, is at once well-thumbed and revolutionary. “It can sustain fads and fashions. …It can’t go out of date because it’s already out of date,” she told Xpress in 2010.
The singer got her start in 1991, with Thee Headcoatees, a back-up group for British artist/painter/author/poet/photographer/filmmaker/musician Billy Childish’s avant-punk band Thee Headcoats. Despite severe dyslexia, Childish continues to create a massive body of work in many genres. It was among such free thinkers that Golightly was able to establish her own aesthetic.
Now, 20-plus albums into her career, Golightly has just released It’s Her Fault. Don’t expect it to sound radically different from earlier releases, says a press release. “It’s still a raw, rough-hewn stew of twisted roots music forged by the duo’s distinct musical interests — she listens to late ’50s/early ’60s R&B and he loves rock ’n’ roll. ‘I’m not looking to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before,’ she confesses. ‘We just what we do. The songs are really all that changes.’
“Full of colorful characters and frank commentary, the songs on All Her Fault rank among her strongest. Prime examples are the tunes that bookend the album: ‘SLC’ and ‘King Lee.’ ‘SLC’ opens the disc with a satiric look at a certain Utah city ‘where you ain’t gonna have a good time’ due to its restrictive environment. By contrast, the closing ‘King Lee’ celebrates personal freedom as it salutes the uninhabited lifestyle of an old man who lives near Golightly, who describes him an ‘entrepreneur’ although she isn’t quite sure what he does.”
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs play The Grey Eagle on Friday, April 11. 9 p.m., $10/$12. The Shine Brothers also perform.