‘I am a night owl, I stay up very, very late every night …” Says Cole. ” I find it very quiet. I mean the only phone calls I get are from drunk friends. It is very mysterious and for a creative person – it is ideal. It is open at night – meaning there are no distractions. You have peace and quiet.”
Holly Cole’s latest musical effort and her first in five years, is definitely an evening affair.
It is an album which turned into a nocturnal theme after a few recording sessions and it also discovers Cole back to where she started. It’s a reunion of sorts. Cole has re-united with her two initial partners in crime. A duo, along with Holly – which made up the Holly Cole Trio. One of the most talented threesomes in Canadian music history …
“My favorite song on the album is ‘Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues‘ ” Admits the 49 year old singer from Nova Scotia. ” One of the reasons I love the song is because it is done as my original trio with Aaron Davies and David Pilch. It really takes me back to the raw trio and that is where my real heart lies. It really is minimal and I am a real minimalist.”
All of the songs on the album ‘Night’ are covers except for one. ‘You’ve got a Secret’ is an original composition and it fits in well with the ‘accidental’ theme of the album. As Cole and her mates were recording, Holly realized the songs she had chosen, all had either the words or ideas of a nighttime flavor. An underlying message of what goes on once the sun disappears. She then chose the remainder of the covers based on that …
” I knew we would do songs in increments. Four at a time or something. Then I realized that most of the songs were about night, written at night or had night in the lyrics. It’s all about the ‘night’ feeling. Some of the songs have a loose connection but they ended up being arranged with that night feeling. The song that I wrote is about night so I think the feel is very mysterious.”
Holly believes her ‘late night’ habits were introduced to her at a young age. She profoundly recalls an incident that took place when she was a three year old in Halifax. She woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible cough – waking both of her parents up. According to Cole, she sounded like Tom Waits and nobody wants their little girl to sound like him – a fan or not …
‘It was around four o’clock in the morning …” She remembers. ” My Father wrapped me into a blanket and took me for a late night stroll. My whole neighborhood was blank – not a soul there. I saw it all for the first time through completely different eyes.”
She goes on …
“It was a clear night with clean Halifax air and fog. I was sitting on my Dad’s shoulders and everything was basking him – the street lights, the moonlight … and all I could hear were his footsteps. It made me fall in love completely with the night. I sincerely believe it had a big influence on me becoming a night owl. When I got home, I felt better and I remember laying in bed thinking that I have a secret. Something which was mine and only mine. It really inspired me and I believe it opened up creative juices within me …”
Those creative juices have served Cole very well.
She released her first album in 1990; ‘ Girl Talk’. It was recorded and released as the Holly Cole Trio. Since that time – Cole has done everything from Christmas albums to an entire disc devoted to Tom Waits songs.
‘Night’ is Holly’s (including ‘best of’ and compilations) 16th album and it has been a long way since she sent a cassette to the founder of the Montreal International Jazz Festival – Andre Menard.
‘I did not have an album, a manager – nothing …” Says Holly. ” I sent him some songs I had done and he loved them. His influence put me on a stage and I was thrilled to play there. It was 1987 and Menard loved me from the beginning. He has been so great to me …”
She will be with her quintet as well as something that is a first for her. A full Gospel choir will be involved. It is an idea that came to her. A thought that delivered the answer; why not …? After all – an artist must continue to grow or risk becoming stagnant …
” This is the first time with a Gospel choir. We have worked with a choir before but not a Gospel one. I like to keep things fresh. They are a twenty – five piece choir called the ‘Praise and Worship Crew.’ They will be with us all three nights and they are from Montreal. I am looking forward to that as well as Kevin Breault joining us for the final two shows. He is a fantastic guitar player.”
Holly’s upcoming appearances at the MontrealThe city is her favorite and she simply adores not only playing – taking in as many acts as she can during the Festival. In fact – she always comes to the Festival if she is not performing elsewhere. Sometimes she is recognized – sometimes she is not.
” The thing about Montreal … (and I have been all over the world), is that it is able to combine the best of North America and Europe. Somehow – the city is able to not have the worst of those cultures. I really mean it when I say that. It’s the greatest Jazz Festival in the world and Montreal is fantastic!”
Cole’s ‘Night’ is produced by Holly Cole and Greg Cohen. It includes cover songs from Tom Waits (“Walk Away”), Gordon Lightfoot (“If You Could Read My Mind”), Mort Shuman (“Viva Las Vegas”), Captain Beefheart (“Love Lies”) and a James Bond theme by John Barry (“You Only Live Twice“).
Holly Cole will be touring in support of her new record in Canada, Germany, Japan and the U.S.
It is no coincidence that all of the shows will take place at ‘Night’ …
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