LUKE HOLDER | THIS WAS A GIANT

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Rock: Folk Rock Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Lyrical
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THIS WAS A GIANT

by LUKE HOLDER

Texas singer/songwriter Luke Holder shows an astonishing worldliness for someone so young.
Genre: Rock: Folk Rock
Release Date: 

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1. Of Heights and Fire
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3:16 $0.99
2. Have Paint Will Travel
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3:48 $0.99
3. I Will
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4:50 $0.99
4. Presidio
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3:51 $0.99
5. Things You Love
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3:22 $0.99
6. Safety
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3:58 $0.99
7. Don't Chase It
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4:35 $0.99
8. Murmurs of Appreciation
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5:16 $0.99
9. All Things Old
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5:54 $0.99
10. Prayer
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2:42 $0.99
11. Condition
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3:31 $0.99
12. Anthem
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13. I Used to Look Up
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14. Unusual
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Latest Article from Amarillo Globe News "All Grown Up Discipline Plays Key Role In Holder's Music" It may not show in his frequently untamed halo of frizzy blond hair. It doesn't really track with the usual image of a musician - late nights, random bursts of creative energy, big dreams unfettered by reality. But Luke Holder is a grown-up. A disciplined one, at that. And he likes it. Adulthood is in his habits, in his schedule, in his priorities. It's in his words, too. "We're all just doin' the best we can. The sorrow of the world was created by man. And I don't know how it caught on, I know where I stand. Don't you chase it too far," Holder sings in "Don't Chase It," a highlight of his last album, "This Was a Giant." Holder chased his dream to New York City twice, once as a single man, then again after marrying his wife. But he realized, to his surprise, that the Big Apple held nothing compared to Amarillo. "I feel like I produce what I want to produce here," he said during a recent conversation at O.H.M.S. Café & Bar, where he'll play Saturday night. "It's just kind of an instinctual thing. ... It works for me because I want to write songs, and I feel ... that I write my best here." And writing is what it's all about for Holder. "I'm not just (expletive deleted) around. I want to write great songs. It's not a hobby, it's a life-or-death thing. I guess that's why I was able to put aside my ego and live here," he said. "It's not about who hears it, though that's nice. It's about trying to write the best songs I can." To that end, Holder rearranged his whole life. He spends 90 minutes every weekday morning practicing and writing before heading off to his day job as an accountant. "That's when I'm using my best energy," Holder said, though he laughingly said he'd never been a morning person before. "It's really been hard to come to terms with the fact that the time I could practice was 6 in the morning," he said. "It's so not rock 'n' roll," he said, grinning. "Every musician I talk to thinks I'm crazy. But it's do-or-die for me, now, and I'm addicted to it." The early hours are a necessity with his 18-month-old son around, Holder said. "I don't have much time to allocate to this," he said of his songwriting sideline. "I'm really respectful of the time I have to take away from (his wife and son) to do this. But in the end, that has caused me to be a lot more productive. Right now, I have 60 songs for my next CD, and I want more. On my last three CDs, I just made them when I had enough songs." Though he's producing more than ever, Holder isn't ready to turn to music full time. "This, to me, is like a treat because I don't get to do it very much. I always said that's why I didn't go to music school. I didn't want to make it a job and snuff out what I love," he said. "It's a respect for the passion, maybe. "... If it were my job, that would be awesome, but I'd certainly have a different approach to it." Though the grown-up aspects of his life - his wife and son, particularly - have changed his songwriting, Holder said his biggest influences are still other singer/songwriters. "It's the study of other people's music, others who have - in my opinion - achieved greatness in songwriting," he said, citing Kevin Gilbert, Jeff Buckley and, lately, Conor Oberst, who records under the name "Bright Eyes." "He's my latest, greatest influence. ... ‘I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' is one of the greatest albums I own. I think it'll go down in history, it's that good," Holder said. Gilbert, a somewhat obscure songwriter who died in 1996, actually made Holder rethink how he listened to music, helping him grow up even more in the process. "I was more into the overall feel of music. I didn't delve into the words as much," Holder said. "Until Kevin Gilbert came along, I didn't give the words the power I should. ... It was almost like I had to listen to it first to begin to digest it, then listen to the words. "I listened to music that way for 22 years, so I had to retrain myself."


Reviews


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John Marcher

FYD Review of This Was A Giant
This here's a gem.  I'm a sucker for good singer/songwriter stuff.  Especially when it's not derivative.  Like the stuff Jeff Buckley did. Purely something internal...not something made to fit a genre-defined mold.
That's not to say there aren't influences here.  The closest recent thing I've heard is that 20 Miles record.  Because they both have a Delta rock fusion vibe going.  But whereas Judah Bauer sounds like he's cribbing from a textbook on how to have soul, you can tell this Holder guy's just living it, opening his heart and dumping it onto wax.
There's a lot of fun stuff on the record.  The bass is positively gooey, and the instrumentation on most tracks is a wonder.  "Have Paint Will Travel" sounds, at first, like typical college radio fare, but if you stay with it and then crank it up like I'm doing right now, it's got this great running T. Rex-y squonk and then this super-cool echoey Boston-esque space guitar thing going and, damn, this is a really gorgeous piece of music.  Hand-fucking made. Like the best cookies you'll ever eat.  Why would you pick Chips Ahoy over this?
"Things You Love" and, especially, "Safety" have this post-modern death country sound that I dig...like when Cowboy Junkies covered "The Post"...totally that sound, and that's a good sound, and it's served lovingly. "Condition" starts out with attention-grabbing vocal distortion, and then plays out into a fun little rocker, but "Murmurs of Appreciation"s probably my favorite... Zipping up the trickery for just a few minutes and stapling Holder's voice to a guitar and a violin duet that's just so beautifully maudlin with a plucky-in-every-sense-of-the-word bridge.  Mr. Holder, please tell this Bethany Mennemeyer person who's credited as the violin player in the liner notes that she totally made my night.
Some lyrical gems as well..."Now he's here/nursing his fear/of heights and fire"..."the glutton was neither consumed/nor destroyed/like a tornado taking the house/leaving the toys."  In "Presidio," Holder alludes to his admiration for Cormac McCarthy and Tom Waits, but the thing I like about him is that he likes them enough not to try to lamely imitate their words or their music and instead forges forward on his own.  This is a fiercely independent work, and I'd say you should keep an eye on this guy.
I honestly don't know what to put in this paragraph since it's normally the part where I'd say if you like "x you'd like him".  Why don't you go over to his page, listen to the samples, and come up with your own similes?

Music Morsels

Music Morsels Review of This Was A Giant
Amarillo, Texas singer/songwriter Luke Holder shows an astonishing worldliness for someone so young. A solid band playing music toying with various edges of folk, rock, blues, Americana and even psychedelic is a great vehicle for Luke's passionate voice which conveys emotion in a subtle way. His words carry unique perspectives on life experiences and true feelings, making you think of legends like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Luke's music is so grippingly honest that he stands quite a distance from the posers in this genre.

Green Man

Green Man Review of This Was A Giant
Luke Holder’s naked observations can amaze and teach us all. He is perceptive yet detached from all he sees. Luke has overcome the deceit in life, and ventures forth to make something out of his observations. With a keen eye and an even keener sense of the world, Holder is able to bend and twist what we see as reality into something more tangible, more complex but infinitely more understandable.
Holder tells stories, and he lets them unfold slowly. His laid-back folk-pop sound is a great setting, and he makes these stories come alive effortlessly, weaving in and out of different subject matters to form a patchwork quilt that speaks to you, asks you to run your fingers along it's stitches, to find the pathway to the centre of it all so that the entire story, every single word of it, is understood by the heart as well as the mind.
Not that Holder doesn't have help to tell his stories, his back up band is incredible! With such a wide musical landscape inside Holders head, and with his music and words written on paper, would it not be fitting that a musical
landscape artist have the proper back up? I certainly think so. His band consists of himself, Holder, on vocals, bass and drums, Skitz O'Fuel on rhythm and slide guitars, Spike Bebb on guitar, Mick Feely and Jenks Whittenbur on bass, John Lerma and Sprocket Hemson on drums, Bethany Hemmemeyer on violin and Uzi Suafdart on piano. Holders band is a virtuoso package of word, song, rhythm and story that gives itself over to the listener completely.
Holder has uncovered the tortured animal in "Of Heights and Fire", stating: “The dark presses against the panes/the lazy man dreams of other days/He never wanted to change/Lust bloomed like a weed or a bruise/on his soul.”
Holder sees deep into the spirit, human and animal, chipping away at what is really there. He believes that life is a miracle, and that creation is one as well. He says: “The miracle lived to long to hatch/But long enough to know the value.” This song confronts the cruelty that we place on others and on ourselves.
In "Prayer" he strips life of its variety of disguises, and celebrates the enormous beauty and paradox of humanity. He states: “Say what they need to hear/That's what will last/Bring back their golden years/Remind them of their past/Give'em a good beat/So they can romance to it/if people like it/it's because they've bought it before/if people buy it/it's because they've heard it before.” Holder peels away the veneer that covers humanity, showing us, with a no holds barred attitude (that I found refreshing), what humanity has become or is quickly becoming. It's as if Holder is holding up a mirror for us to look into, to glance deep within ourselves. We have no choice but to confront the fake side of human nature.
He wraps the power of his poetry in intricately woven melodies that will appeal to those of us who are looking for something a little more complex than the traditional verse/chorus structure. The mind and voice that brings all of this to us are passionate, natural, various and inspiring. There is a place where the shadow meets the light. Where the darkness embraces the glow and all things opposite reside in the same space. This is where magic and mundane forge, where light and dark become one, where hate and love both fuel the same muse. This is where Luke Holder sits, weaving his story quilt, twisting it's fibres and forging the stuff of dreams.