Keeping a Record of It

Lonnie Holley

Just Before Music, the debut full-length record from sculptor, collage artist and singer Lonnie Holley, received a quiet release last year on the boutique label Dust-to-Digital. Channeling the intense vocal power of Nina Simone through the cosmic surrealism of Sun Ra, Holley plays a kind of psychedelic outsider jazz gospel, and his incredible debut of intensely lonely, melancholy music featured him bellowing sorrowfully over a twinkling, improvised keyboard. On his new record, Keeping a Record of It, however, he trades all of his sadness for positivity and breaks his erstwhile solitude with collaborations from Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and the Black Lips’ Cole Alexander. Where Before was a chronicle of Holley’s tragic biography, Keeping a Record is a celebration of his life in the face of this struggle. It’s stunning, powerful and an exceptionally human record. Essential.