Her voice quavers and bends with lithe willowy grace, rising and falling like a breath. Her pretty, modest twang shimmers with a sirens warmth, drawing you hither as the lyrics hitch their ride on pain, sorrow and longing. Theres a jazzy country-blues lilt to her earliest releases that helps Holland evoke the spirit of Billie Holiday, but her latest, The Living and the Dead, moves further toward the more modern, polished country-folk that was hinted at by 2006s Springtime Can Kill You. But where Springtime still swooned, The Living and the Dead is more straightforward and lively as Holland dials back the dramatic voicing and lets the songs do more of the work. Marc Ribot and M. Ward contribute guitars while Holland suns on the shores of ache, contemplating lost and dying friends in the title track and lamenting that everything around here makes me sad in The Future.
Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m., 2008