Hush (2008)


Hush - Claire Holley

Track Listing

  1. Visit Me
  2. Innisfree
  3. Wedding Day
  4. Go Away Now
  5. Another Day video
  6. Simple Meals
  7. Under the Moon
  8. Stars Fell On Alabama
  9. Goin West
  10. Edge of a Storm
  11. Leaving This Town
  12. Say Goodnight

Claire’s essay in Image Journal: The Wisdom of Goodnight Moon: On Making A Record, As the Mother of a Two-year-old

Praise

“Hush is a beautiful album project; it’s as strong a piece of work as anything Holley has ever released.” — Philip Van Vleck / Metro Magazine

“…just plain, unabashed, good quality songs…delightful.”— lonesomemusic.blogspot.com

“Like southern sweet tea on a hot afternoon, everything about Hush is just plain excellent. Holley’s voice is nothing short of achingly beautiful, the songwriting could be used as an example of a poetic art form, and the production is top notch.”— Hufflington Post

“The album opens with ‘Visit Me,’ one of the finest tunes I’ve heard in quite a while. Holley’s vocal is lovely, and her poignant lyrics impart a wonderful sense of yearning born on a quiet strength.” — Metro Magazine (Raleigh, NC)

“Claire Holley possesses one of the best voices I have heard in some time…Her original music moves and reaches to completely different levels, at once slow and bluesy, and next to downright swinging jazz. It is ultimately unique both in composition and presentation.” — Peter Read / Nightflying

“…stunning… Holley sings gracefully with a raspy, hushed voice, over smart and surprising guitar parts, making for some unequivocally good music.” — Southeast Performer

“Holley’s work is straightforward, unabashed and beautiful.” — Performing Songwriter

“Her voice sounds real, warm, somewhat familiar, and she might sing about seersucker suits and sleeveless shirts or businessmen and bums in the same phrase.” — The Independent Weekly

“There’s no mistaking that Holley is a major talent in the acoustic music world.” — True Tunes Reviews

Background: the making of HUSH

Hush, Claire Holley’s latest release, was recorded in a friend’s living room in Los Angeles. The comforts of a house provided the right environment for recording this new collection of songs—not unlike the setting for W. B. Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” a favorite poem of Holley’s which she sets to music. While featuring some of the finest musicians on the west coast, the songs themselves pay homage to her roots back south. A native Mississippian, Holley spent several productive years absorbing the rich variety of music in North Carolina, where she garnered national acclaim with two releases from Chapel Hill’s Yep Roc Records. Her self-titled debut as well as a previous collection of hymns called Sanctuary were featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen. But a move to Los Angeles would soon follow and the birth of a son.

Holley wanted to try recording somewhere besides a traditional music studio. The idea to use a house came one evening while having dinner with a friend who offered his place. Most of the basic tracks were recorded live in the spacious living room, and the upstairs bedroom became the control room. While featuring local talents, Greg Leisz, whose pedal steel swims in the opening track, and Don Heffington, whose restrained touch on the drums shines on “Simple Meals,” Holley decided to use long-time producer John Plymale to collaborate with: “I knew this was going to be a quiet record,” she says. “I felt very protective of the songs, and I wanted them to be recorded in a comfortable setting by someone who I really trusted and had a history with.”

“The slight catch in Holley’s voice can break your heart…” says Time Out New York, and this is especially true in the new songs on Hush. With the haunting music of “Wedding Day” she suggests a strange event unfolding; and in “Go Away Now,” Holley shines the light inward for a moment and takes us to the dark places in herself. She also explores the beauty of the ordinary with “Another Day;” and in “Visit Me,” she relishes the quiet and the simplicity conceived from a remote cottage in rustic Alabama. While paying homage to the domestic in “Simple Meals,” which celebrates the comforts of the familiar, “Leaving This Town.” reveals a restlessness, a desire for adventure. A theme begins to emerge: an exploration of the outward in tension with the inward, the known versus the unknown.