Sound Track web extra: Holy Holy Vine

Much of Holy Holy Vine‘s Friday night set at The Grey Eagle (supporting Hurray for the Riff Raff) was indie-folk set to a rolling boil. The boil was fueled both by Danni Iosello’s drumming and Flora Wolpert Checknoff lyrics. Often those lyrics floated just below the surface. Not lost in the instrumentation, but not needing to stand in the spotlight, either. Vocals as an accent to the music, rather than as the center piece, is not exactly unprecedented — but it’s not the typical live band formula, either.

Then again, not much about Holy Holy Vine is typical. Checknoff’s singing voice is rich and low with a lustrous upper register revealed only now and then, like a bell rung into a steeple. And, while some of the songs edged up against pastoral, they belonged to a pasture in mid-stampede.

Similarly, while Holy Holy Vine’s sound is organic and experimental, its folkloric tendencies are tempered with a post-industrial ethos. Post-post-industrial. The soundtrack of a society toppled from its space-age pillar and catapulted back to an agrarian age, but with the memory of machinery preserved in tact.

The strings section of Erica Schinasi (violin) and Dailey Toliver (bass) provided a lush and orchestral foil. As much as they could have turned Holy Holy Vine into an orchestral outfit, both instruments dared to veer away from prettiness. The violin, especially, groaned and squealed. Schinasi plucked her instrument while Toliver bowed his; Checknoff switched from acoustic to electric guitar. A song, late in the set, led with an intro that sounded like a swarm of insects before settling into warm melody.

And, while Holy Holy Vine’s songs often seemed to be built on movement, they were less about classical arrangements and more about chapters in a story. Pages turned in sheet music, novels, personal journals. Secrets released into the atmosphere and allowed to flutter for a moment — bright wings beating at the light — before falling to the ground or being consumed by the luminous moment.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.