May 8, 2009
Many years ago I walked in to Ralph's Antiques down on Main St. The nostalgia was the particular draw for me and the sense that every item has a story and a sort of energy, which made for a vibe that was interesting and unsettling at the same time. Between some old trinkets I found a wooden music box, immediately I wound it up and opened it. The eerie resolving melody that hit my ears I could only describe as beautifully enigmatic. That music box still sits on my dresser and probably will remain there for as long as I can imagine. The music that The Hollands make brings me right back to that feeling. The Hollands are an Art/Folk trio from Green Bay. Tonight they performed at the Cup O Joy downtown on Broadway and celebrated their first album CD release "To Holland With Love." Playing for a large audience, the light in The Cup was real low, the floor was set up with tables and candle light. It was an extremely intimate setting that definitely complemented the atmosphere and music. Jana's vocals are so delicate and beautiful, she sets a spiritual mood and embraces your mind with her poetic yet ground level lyrics. At times Jana's sound can be rustic when she combines the strumming of the banjo or mandolin, but the majority of her strings are shared with her acoustic guitar. I found Jana Holland's performance flawless and entrancing.
Craig Holland is the unsung hero of The Hollands and is the element of the unique sound that pulls this music in a different direction than traditional folk. When Craig is playing the Taylor acoustic, the rhythms are almost Celtic by nature but on the Les Paul electric it is an entirely different story. Craig draws from more subdued elements of the hardcore and slowcore subgenres of punk, while keeping the decibels at bay, distorted, or clean. Graciana Holland handles the backing vocals and plays the glockenspiel and her notes, tone, and talent is celestial. Who would have thought a little eclectic core edge on the electric guitar, and the seraphic sounds of Graciana's vocals and glockenspiel could blend seamlessly with Jana's folk melodies? The Hollands did, and the sound and experience was ethereal and a little enigmatic. Tonight they only played songs off their new album "To Holland With Love" and it is available via internet download and in the now old school CD format for a modest cost. While hanging out with Jana and Craig for a bit they talked about some of there latest breakthroughs in their songwriting and their involvement in the local art community. The Hollands are constantly changing and being influenced by other music/art and while Jana and Craig both pull from opposite ends of the musical spectrum, the final product they brought to the show tonight was original and amazing. "To Holland with Love" is definitely an album you can loose yourself in with its imaginative compositions and entrancing vocals, it will lift you away much like a balloon on a breeze.