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Holly Near - And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection

And Still We Sing:
The Outspoken Collection

Holly Near


Appleseed Records
38 Mercer Hill Road
Ambler PA 19002

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by L.C. Di Marco

Holly Near is, in my opinion, the very definition of a true artist. In an era full of flaky music-made-to-sell only, Holly interrupts us with what really matters. Over the years her material has served as our inner voice cojolting us to think, feel and act.

I ask then, are you looking for a proactive push? Tired of all of the bureaucratic B.S.? Our society places so much value on moving up in the world that often we forget the basics of developing a healthy foundation. Once in awhile we need to wake up and take action. Holly Near is the perfect example of an activist-feminist artist who has made a career of taking action. Her energy, in turn, encourages the rest of us to get involved. Starting with, Fired Up, Holly gets us thinking about our own social responsibilities. From there she moves to, I Ain't Afraid. This song not only challenges religion and all its falsehood, it also alludes to the various belief systems in our world. She pulls no punches when she tells us to, 'rise up [...] watch out!' The timing of this song is quite pertinent in my own life as I question my own religious upbringing and all its pretenses.

These songs are but samples of meaningful tunes that are a must hear from Disc One of the two set collection of Near's studio work.

Holly's second disc, from this two disc collection, consists of mostly live performance. In comparison, the energy on this 'live' recording is certainly more intense and passionate. It also uses a cultural blend of various Latino sounds. Songs such as, La Pajita and They Dance Alone (bilingual) focus on social issues that perhaps are more predominant in some than others. The historical observation of social pain and suffering cannot be ignored on this album.

This 2-CD collection is more than 'a message in a bottle.' There are many messages and various presentations. Holly brings together her best songs to remind us of the existence of other forms of love; the many social issues; and, most of all, she tells us to get involved.

Musically, she toys with different genres of music and she touches different musical cultural theories: Latino, grassroots, pop, folk and oral traditions.

Beginning with a vision of sorts (e.i. Political), Holly plays with melody, harmony and rhythm to express her lyrical intentions. She has taken this expertise and with the likes and talents of other artists, such as, John Bucchino (piano), Jan Martinelli (bass), Janelle Burdell (drums) and many others, this well mastered collection is worth the trip to your local music distributor.

L.C. DiMarco is a musician based in Canada. She has a web site at

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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