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Rough Trade Album of the Month: March 2017
Rough Trade Exclusive with a Bonus 4 track CD featuring covers of Blue Crystal Fire by Robbie Basho, Call Me On Your Way Back Home by Ryan Adams, All I Have To Do Is Dream by Boudleaux Bryant and We Don't Know Where We're Going.
Holly Macve releases her much-anticipated debut album, Golden Eagle, on Bella Union. With its spellbinding country and western ballads and devastating emotional delivery, the album is one of the most remarkably assured debuts of this or any other year, especially given she’s though only 21 years old. Born in Galway in western Ireland, Macve and her sister were whisked away “in the night” by her mother from their errant father, to live with her grandparents in Yorkshire.
Once in their own house, Holly quickly responded to music: “My Grandad was a classical composer, and my mum sang, and she said I was singing before I was talking,” she recalls. Her mother’s record collection - lots of old blues and Bob Dylan – shaped Holly’s impressionable mind, before she herself discovered the likes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Gillian Welch.
Hiding away in Yorkshire, “isolated, surrounded by countryside”, her imagination took flight. All Of Its Glory evokes her great-grandad, serving in WWI, writing impassioned letters (which the family still own, bound in a book) to his wife at home. Other songs describe ‘blood red fields’ and ‘burning skies’, and ‘a man standing by the river bank / His eyes were blue and his hair was jet black….’ The bulk of Golden Eagle was recorded in Newcastle at the home studio of producer Paul Gregory (of Bella Union label-mates Lanterns On The Lake), with extra recording in Brighton and London with her first touring band and Macve performing on acoustic guitar and piano. Yet Golden Eagle remains beautifully spare and delicate, putting Holly’s goosebump-raising voice centre stage, beautifully controlled yet riven with feeling.