Jolie Holland, like Neko Case, is an American gal who kickstarted her musical career on Canada’s West Coast. After founded respected folk trio the Be Good Tanyas, Holland returned to the States and started a solo career.
She recently released her third album, ‘Springtime Can Kill You', and came to Barrymore’s as part of her promotional tour.

Her opening act, David Dondero, has been feted as one of America’s best songwriters. His one-man act was slightly reminiscent of a more mainstream Bonnie Prince Billy or Smog. His rustic clothes - a trucker’s cap and lumberjack’s shirt – matched his querying Americana. As his lengthy set came to a close he invited Holland and her two bandmates on stage to help him finish off the set.

That done, all four went backstage for a half hour while the soundman tinkered with Holland’s microphones.

That done, Holland took the stage bundled up in a jacket and scarf. The promoter had apparently expected a larger crowd, and the cavernous, gilded theatre was chilly enough to send me back to the coat check to fetch my jacket.

Holland maintained an informal style in front of the audience, asking them to shout up any requests or recommendations while she worked her way through her own songs, a traditional tune or two and a cover of Freakwater’s 'Louisville'.

Her band provided an impressionistic backing to country-style guitar work. Drummer Dave Milhaly provided carefree splashes of percussion rather than any sort of regular timekeeping, and guitarist Nate Lombard sometimes seemed to be playing another song entirely. Nonetheless, it held together and was a far more interesting backdrop than a more workmanlike approach would have provided.

She agonized over a suitable encore number before settling on Tom Waits’ ‘A Little Bit of Rain’.

While she doesn’t have the voice or presence to replace Neko Case as the sweetheart of the alternative country set, she put on a good show for her small but adoring crowd

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