Monday, June 25, 2007

voice to hear




Written by John from Altjiranga Mitjina

This week’s Voice to Hear is another MySpace discovery. Though this time it didn’t come to me as a request. I found her site while browsing someone else’s site. I wish I could remember who I started off with to discover her, but it’s lost in my slowly senile drifting mind. Whoever it was I owe a big thanks, because I have become hooked on Lily Holbrook. As soon as I landed on her page and the music started I was entranced. She has one of those voices that just reach out and grabs ahold of you and doesn’t want to let go.

Lily Holbrook is a young singer/songwriter that started her career busking on the streets of Boston while she was in college. Busking is another name for those street musicians you see on the side of the street or in the subway stations playing their guitar and singing with the guitar case opened for tips while most people wander by without even stopping to listen. Lily started her career this way because she was too shy to appear on stage and figured this was an easier way to sing in front of others. She soon gained enough confidence and a following that she started to play the local clubs in the Boston area and began to attract a following. Local busker and now recording artist/singer Mary Lou Lord calls Lily “Boston’s best kept secret.”

In 1999 Lily released her independent debut Running From the Sky. Drawing comparisons to Tori Amos and Kate Bush with her writing style and her singing/playing the album creates it sound with simple guitars and some strings. Her voice reminds me of Jewel, hauntingly beautiful.

Next up Lily was featured as one of 16 street musicians in the documentary Playing For Change. This documentary featured 16 different street singers and told their story. Her appearance in the movie helped secure her a contract with Backporch Records, a subsidy of EMI/Virgin.

Her next album was the Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt. For my money this is one of the best album titles I’ve seen. I like it when an artist titles his album something besides the name of his latest hit song. To me it sounds better when they dig a little deeper and name the album for some feeling or emotion they’re trying to convey with the entire album. Lily captures that perfectly with the title of this album.

This album uses a wider range of musical equipment and her folkie tendencies are joined with a wider range of musical noise. Writing that makes it sound like a terrible sound, but Lily pulls it off. She doesn’t lose her sound from her first album, she just adds a bigger musical palette to paint with.

A lot of Lily’s music concerns itself with beauty and physical appearances and what today’s society expects of women. On her new album she does a cover of Ozzy Osborne’s “Mama, I’m Coming Home” in tribute to her late brother. This is a beautiful cover of the song that slowly builds to a stunning climax.

Lily has left Boston for the warmer streets of L.A. While in L.A. she was presented with the idea of becoming the “next” Brittney Spears, but decided she would rather make music that mattered to her and not just sing formulaic pop songs. She’s since left L.A. for a life on the road and is touring in support of her music. Her last album was released two years ago, here’s hoping she’s working on a new one and also that her tour will bring her down this way.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is funny to me that "Lily started her career this way because she was too shy to appear on stage ". I would think performing on the street is much scarier than performing on a stage, because on a stage people are there in the frame of mind for listening, and they applaud politely because the situation calls for it. On the street you have to face a lot of rejection and probably nasty comments...
The performers in the NYC subway mostly start their career on stage, and then when they are good enough they get accepted to playing in the subway!
Check out one of my favorite NYC subway musicians, the 'Saw Lady' (she plays singing saw):
www.SawLady.com/blog

Surviving Motherhood said...

Good on her for not falling into the comercial crap hole and sticking to want she wanted to do. she has a great voice and I love this track. Another one to add to my list.

John, you are going to end up costing me a fortune!

p.s just realised I forgot to put a link up to your blog in this post. Sorry about that, shall fix it right now.

Featured Post and Blog of the Week



You Are Here

by Amie from
MammaLoves...


You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.

With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.

And now what?


Read the full post...

Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her

by Debbie from Missives from Suburbia


After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested Match.com, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.

A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, Match.com "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.

Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...

Read the full post...

A Lost Opportunity

by John from Altjiranga Mitjina


Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.

The best way for a writer is to find an aspiring artist and hook up...

Read the full post...

Jesus Toothpaste!

by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.


This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?

They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.

When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...

Read the full post...

A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.

by Megan from Velveteen Mind, originally guest posted at Queen of Spain


A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bossy.com bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.

This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...

Read the full post...