On My Hard Drive: Holly Cole

And a couple of bonus items before we get down to business: late last year I found my self drawn to a set of three albums on my hard drive, called Verve Remixed, 1, 2, and 3. These are albums of clubby dancy music, remixed using the familiar riffs and snippets from the extensive Verve Music catalogs - Verve has a large Jazz set, and these albums are wonderful listening, if you can deal with BEAT. But I'm not talking about of the soft-headed, light-stick twirling, mind-numbing club music we all are familiar with (on a second-hand-smoke kind of basis) as we drive down the road. I'm talking about dance music intermingled with familiar phrases and trademark sounds from the jazz world. I decided to do a little searching, and ended up also buying albums by The Brazilian Girls, Eddy Meets Yannah, and one or two others... if you are interested in world-beat music with a twist, there is a starting point for you.

Now to the matter at hand: Holly Cole. I friend of mine gave me her CD called Don't Smoke in Bed several years ago. At the time I was a recording engineer, and theater sound designer, and I was blown away first by the production values on that CD - the sonic quality was stunningly good, and second, by the fact that this was simply a trio, Cole (voice), Aaron Davis (Piano), and David Piltch (bass).

This is a WONDERFUL CD filled with surprises. Her online biography notes that Cole has the ability to wend her way through a song in a very unique and meaningful way. And that is certainly the case here. One my all-time favorites from her is "I can see clearly now..." It's a familiar song to us all for sure, but the key change in the middle is OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. The song NEVER fails to move me. Seriously.

There are similarities between this album and the album from fellow Canadian kd lang (Cole is from eastern Canada, and lang is from Alberta, in western Canada), called Drag. Both are albums about smoking songs, and torch songs. There is even some cross over between them, in that the song Don't Smoke In Bed is on both albums. (kd lang is another one of my favorites.)

Anyway, there are other gems on this album for sure. One of the other highlights is a song called The Tennessee Waltz. Again, a familiar and traditional song for sure. But her rendition is heartbreaking. The album came out in 1993, and as I was looking her up a month or two ago, I noticed that there was a new album out from her. So, of course I had to get it downloaded, pronto. As expected, I was not disappointed. not only are the songs great, but I am a SUCKER for a well played Baritone Saxophone (in addition to a long list of other instruments: Acoustic guitar, upright bass, bass trombone, etc.), and this album's first song features a wonderful bari solo. The new album is called simply, Holy Cole. And it's great. You should get it.


Sarah Bellum said...

Love, love, LOVE her! But you know that.

Anonymous said...

I think it is unfortunate that Miss Cole and Miss Krall hit Canadian audiences at exactly the same time. They are certainly both amazing in their own rights, but here in the north, DK got all the air play. Miss Cole still draws them in up here in a variety of venues.