BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS
Country music is in a strange place. During its long, adventurous existence, it has gone from the woods, through cheatin’ hearts and ended up where it is now: one of the most popular genres in the world and farther away from its roots than it has ever been.
Sure, a few like Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Justin Townes Earle try to keep the flame alive but for most, the airwaves are dominated by the Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan asses. Of those precious few that choose to stand with one foot in the past, Holly Golightly (taking her name from Breakfast at Tiffany’s) is, rightly so, the Queen, an Englishwoman with both a razor sharp tongue and voice that Loretta would love, ready to burn down the woods and all faux “country artists” in her path.
Her latest with The Brokeoffs, It’s Her Fault, opens with the wild “SLC,” a shot at someone going to the Mormon center. “Why you want to go out to Salt Lake City/ you can’t get fucked up/ you can’t get shitty?/ You ain’t gonna have a good time.” That’s Holly: in your face, honest, funny, at times heartbreaking, and always sincere.
“Pistol Pete” (my personal favorite on the album) is a short and sweet cautionary tale set to waltz time. It’s the story of Pete, a man that “They tried to break/ but he broke them instead” and, if messed with, you’ll end up “crippled, blind or dead.” Think Jim Croce’s “Don’t Mess Around With Slim” with less humor and more violence. This has the touch that Holly and the Brokeoffs bring to their songs: take a despicable character and make you root for him in the end.
The lushness of the songs defies the fact that The Brokeoffs are/is merely Lawyer Dave, a friend and musical compatriot that has been by her side for books-full of songs and just as many records. They laugh, they bring tears, they frighten and they jar (as in “No Business” she sings, in a come hither voice, “Don’t you touch me/ I’ll cut off your hand.”). Holly and Dave continue to make records that drive you, soothe you, knock you back on your heels and bring you faith back to the gospel of country music.
Is It’s Her Fault to the letter, dyed in the wool country music? Hell no. Is it a record that would make Hank, Ernest, Jimmie, Mother Maybelle and Bill stand up, take notice, stomp their feet and throw back a few or ten? Hell yes! Holly Golightly has built a career having a good time and encouraging others to follow her example.
Buy It’s Her Fault, a12-pack, then enjoy the ride. Just don’t try it in Salt Lake City.
DOWNLOAD: “SLC” “Pistol Pete”