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Upcoming shows: Rain Parade... Matthew and the Atlas... Gratis: Makushin... Beans on Toast... Lightheaded + Mt. Misery... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andrew Wasylyk & Tommy Perman... Cat Clyde... Charlie Parr... Mock Tudors... Dominie Hooper... Steve Wynn... Ryley Walker... Terry Reid... Chime School... The Courettes... Douglas Dare... Tusks... Rachael Lavelle... Roddy Woomble... John Francis Flynn... Old Sea Brigade... Good News... Myriam Gendron... Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra... Kris Drever... Erland Cooper... Pokey LaFarge... Admiral Fallow... Skinny Lister... The Sheepdogs... The Unthanks in Winter... Emily Barker...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 5 April 2024
Where: Hallé at St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DG

We’re delighted to welcome Jolie Holland back to Manchester!

Jolie Holland is an American singer and performer who combines elements of folk, traditional country, jazz, and blues.

Over the span of her career, Jolie Holland has knotted together a century of American song – jazz, blues, soul, rock and roll – into some stew that is impossible to categorise with any conventional critical terminology. This is her burden and her gift, to know all of these American songs of the last ten decades in her head and her heart, and to have to wrestle with their legacy. She dives straight to the pathos of a song the way the very greatest singers, singers like Mavis Staples, or Al Green, or Skip James, or Tom Waits do. Upon first encounter her songs seem challenging, perhaps unsettling at times, but as so many poets and rockers have shown us (from Dante Alighieri to William Blake to Sylvia Plath to Patti Smith to Nick Cave to Mark E. Smith) that’s where the beauty lies. As evident on her first recordings, Holland apparently has no fear of the truth, and there is no emotional core that she cannot reach in song. In fact she thrives on the red hot centre of a musical composition, in all its strange and brutal detail.

This autumn, Jolie Holland will unveil her latest album, Haunted Mountain; intricately connected with friend and collaborator Buck Meek’s record of the same name, Haunted Mountain features five songs co-written by the pair, including the mesmerising title track. Holland explains: ‘I wrote the song a couple years ago, and it existed as two verses for many months. Buck added a third verse, and then we both began performing it with our bands. When he told me he was including our song on his next record, I was extremely pleased at the weirdness – I was going to release a version as well. Then he told me he wanted to name his record Haunted Mountain, “…only if you’re not already naming your record Haunted Mountain”. Well, that had been the name of my next record for quite a while. We thought about it for a minute and decided it was bizarre and wonderful. Buck’s Haunted Mountain is out in late August. My Haunted Mountain comes out in the autumn. I love how the image of a haunted mountain is so open ended. I love how fun it is to say. I am enormously pleased that Buck chose it as his album name too.’

The nine-track stunner delves into a treasure trove of themes, from anti-colonial thought to homelessness, all while exploring the profound significance of being in reciprocity with nature. ‘When the world is sacred, we are moved to protect it,’ Holland explains. ‘Elves stop highways in Iceland. Faeries save forests in Ireland. Even though the numinous is beyond reason, it’s a motivating, communicative idea. You can tell it to a kid, and when the kid grows up they might understand it ecologically, or they might understand it aesthetically. The numinous is a huge idea,’  she continues. ‘An old friend of mine saw the Jordan River at a place in Palestine where it was just a little creek. His description opened up this realisation to me: every river is sacred to someone. Every inch of Earth is someone’s storied, sung homelands. No one needs to understand this more than settler Americans.’

Working closely with her talented collaborators, Adam Brisbin and Justin Veloso, Jolie recorded the core of the album as a trio before adding layers of intriguing overdubs. Ever the innovator, she employed some unconventional recording techniques, like capturing the sound of knuckles rapping on the piano and incorporating the sounds of cicadas in album closer What It’s Worth. The intriguing atmosphere of Feet On The Ground was created by running a drum machine through an amp into a vast barn, every sonic experiment a testament to her willingness to push the boundaries of her art.

Haunted Mountain is a triumph of boundless creativity, profound lyricism, and thought-provoking artistry. With poetic storytelling awash in a dream-like sonic palette, Holland invites audiences on an alluring journey that transcends genres and leaves an indelible mark on the heart and mind.

‘Noir, lived in, caustic, not entirely of this time’ – Aquarium Drunkard

Tour support comes from Mark McKowski. Mark McCausland is an Irish songwriter/producer/musician, best known for his work as one half of The Lost Brothers. He also collaborates with a variety of artists and produces his own records under the name McKowski. He currently works from his home studio in Omagh, the town that he’s been trying to escape since birth.

This will be one of the first public concerts in St Michael’s since its recent re-opening, having been closed since 2004. The Roman Catholic church was founded in 1859 and became the heart of the Little Italy Community in Ancoats.

Age restriction: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.