Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs
April 24, 2014
Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH
Holly Golightly has made over 20 albums and appeared on countless more, but she never had a recording experience like the one she had making the new Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs release All Her Fault, coming March 4, 2014 on Transdreamer Records.
Golightly and her partner Lawyer Dave spent nearly six months on the project. “It has never taken me that long to get through 12 tracks,” she admits. “I don’t have the patience for endlessly going over things. I want things done quickly and this was like pulling a Dave-shaped log along at times.”
A native of England, Golightly currently lives with Lawyer Dave on a rural farm outside of Athens, Georgia. The duo recorded this album in the convenience of their home studio, which they found had drawbacks too. “You have to be disciplined when you are paying for studio time, but even more so when you are recording at home,” she says. What with working on their farm, having day jobs and tending to their rescued horses, the two were challenged to find recording time.
Being a two-person band (Lawyer Dave “is” the Brokeoffs) made recording a slow process, according to Golightly. They built their tracks the DIY way, with Dave layering the instruments. For this recording, they received some great, donated equipment as well as stuff that neighbors dug out of their barns that the couple had to clean up. Then, on top of everything else, raging summer thunderstorms deluged them. “We got flooded out a few times and had the power go out.” she explains. “The studio had to be shut down for days at times, so we couldn’t do anything for fear of losing everything if we suddenly lost electricity, which we did, on and off, all summer.”
Despite all the troubles and trials getting it done, Golightly feels justifiably proud of All Her Fault, which she describes as their “most rounded and complete album.” She says that the benefit of the extra time let the pair “exhaust every avenue of potential” in their songs. “There’s nothing where Dave and I said that we could have made it better.”
Don’t expect All Her Fault, however, to sound radically different from their earlier releases. It’s still a raw, rough-hewn stew of twisted roots music forged by the duo’s distinct musical interests — she listens to late ’50s/early ’60s R&B and he loves rock ’n’ roll. “I’m not looking to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before,” she confesses. “We just what we do. The songs are really all that changes.”
Full of colorful characters and frank commentary, the songs on All Her Fault rank among her strongest. Prime examples are the tunes that bookend the album: “SLC” and “King Lee.” “SLC” opens the disc with a satiric look at a certain Utah city “where you ain’t gonna have a good time” due to its restrictive environment. By contrast, the closing “King Lee” celebrates personal freedom as it salutes the uninhabited lifestyle of an old man who lives near Golightly, who describes him an “entrepreneur” although she isn’t quite sure what he does.
Golightly and Lawyer Dave stock the rest of the record with a rambunctious set of home-brewed backwoods music — from the eerie swamp rocker “For All That Ails You” to “Can’t Pretend” (which resembles T. Rex on a rockabilly bender), while “The Best” suggests a lullaby that just might inspire nightmares.
“The Best” also utilizes one of their recent studio additions: a piano. Piano actually figures prominently in several numbers including the disc’s central track, “Bless Your Heart.” This marvelous rant aimed at people who pretend to be who they aren’t was inspired by a Nashville star who sings about dirt roads and tractors but really is just a cowboy hat-wearing suburban kid. “It’s a glorification of living in a trailer and the locals don’t glorify it,” she states. “I have a problem with people presenting themselves as something they are not. I do enjoy straightforward honesty above all else really.”
A tune that stirs different emotions in her is “Pistol Pete,” which is based on one of their rescue horses. “I really love that song,” she says, “It makes me cry.” Horses have been an important part of Golightly’s life for even longer than music. Growing up with her grandparents on a smallholding in East Sussex, England, Golightly was an apprentice jockey and later a riding instructor throughout her involvement with U.K. garage rocker Billy Childish’s musical world. She also took in rescue horses, as and when funds allowed. She and Lawyer Dave, in fact, bought their rural Georgia farm so that hey could have enough land to continue and expand that work.
Making music and working with animals are equally important to Golightly, who has found that they aren’t as different as they might seem. “You learn skills from one that you can transfer to the other,” she explains. Balancing the two interests creates touring dilemmas that most bands don’t face. To support All Her Fault, Golightly and Lawyer Dave will only able to do a full cross-country tour — their first in a long time — due to the generosity of their local friends and neighbors, who will take care of their farm and the animals for the weeks they’ll be on the road.
Golightly acknowledges that she is privileged to be able to do what she loves to do, but she says, “I work really hard to do all of the things I want to do.” The definition of a working musician, Golightly has always had a day job and, in fact, now holds down two. “I have to make a living and feed these hungry horses.” Her music career supports itself, but it hasn’t made her rich. “I’ve never relied on making money from doing it,” she confides. “I’d have starved to death by now if I had done, but I have stuck to my guns and I do it exactly the way I want to do it.” It’s this straight-shooting attitude that she also expresses in the honesty of her music.