Gig Seeker Pro


Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review of Airline's Farewell Republica"

Robert Holley, lead singer and principal songwriter of the retro-indie quartet Airline, possesses a dry, off-the-cuff delivery that makes even his most intriguing lyrics come off stress-free, as if he's capable of keen introspective at the drop of a hat.

Airline's heady debut, Farewell Republica, features casually delivered, yet fully developed, ideas that prove Holley's gift is no fluke.

Mixing lush, off-kilter pop with interesting nods to alt-country (check out the wailing pedal steel of Joe Butcher on "About to Bend"), Farewell Republica inhabits a realm all its own, a fascinating locale where Badfinger, Pink Floyd and Joe Henry gleefully co-exist, kind of like the Decemberists if Colin Meloy watched The Simpsons instead of Masterpiece Theatre.

On the album's best cut, the surging "Denmark," guitars give way to strings and then Ryan Smith's keyboards sustain the mood until Holley re-emerges, carefully orchestrating the beautiful mess back to his words, some poetic, others trivial. The song nearly succumbs to the weight of a few too many stylistic diversions. Thankfully, like the rest of Farewell Republica, it's all a part of the fitful push and pull of past and present, as Airline finds a way to envision Gram Parsons singing for Joy Division. Detailed, dramatic and not a little dense, this is local music of rare insight, by a band demanding a following. - Dallas Observer

"For the Dallas band Airline, the sky's the limit when building an empire"

Robert Holley has a soft spot for Fort Worth.

He's the lead singer and bassist of the Dallas band Airline and spent much of his youth in Minneapolis. But he was born in Cowtown, still has family here and says his group always gets a great reception when playing local clubs such as Lola's Saloon, the Moon or the Aardvark. Compare that with Dallas, where he says things are less predictable.

"First off, [Fort Worth] is a smaller scene," he says. "It's more centralized. ... Dallas is so spread out, and Deep Ellum kind of fell apart. The live-music scene is struggling. They don't have built-in crowds in these places anymore."

But thanks to a growing reputation and their first full-length CD, Farewell Republica, Airline may not need to worry too much about crowd size on the other side of the Metroplex. The band's darkly brocaded rock-pop with touches of pedal-steel guitar brings to mind the likes of Band of Horses and Death Cab for Cutie, and comparisons have been made to a variety of stalwarts from Badfinger to Pink Floyd.

Holley doesn't mind all the allusions. "I think it's great," he says. "I love telling people to come up with your own opinion. ... It's kind of fun to hear what other people come up with."

The group -- which also includes keyboardist Ryan L. Smith, guitarist William Woolsey and drummer Chris Carmichael -- came together in 2005, at first as a quintet. But when the bassist left, Holley -- who had been playing rhythm guitar -- moved to bass and liked the results.

"The keyboard player became more of a focus for the band, which is where we wanted to be," he says. "I always wanted to be more keyboards, even before I got the band together. ... [It offers] a unique sound pattern rather than typical two guitars."

Holley, 25, grew up in the Twin Cities as a musician and music fan, thanks in part to his guitarist dad who also instilled in him a love of the Beatles. But when he moved to Dallas in 2001 to attend SMU, it was to study not music but economics and history. "I loved history, so I wanted to study that as much as possible," he recalls. "I enjoy business and I wanted to learn something along those lines. Music I wanted to make a career... but I wanted to broaden my horizons."

His scholastic interests show up in his lyrics and even the album title, a tip of the hat to the Roman Empire. "That's definitely an underlying theme, the fall of empires and what causes them," he says.

For now, though, he's more concerned with building careers than crumbling nations. To that end, Airline hopes to tour outside of North Texas this year. But, Holley says, despite Dallas' current live-music situation, he's not itching to pack up and move someplace else.

"There's a great local-music scene in Dallas and everybody's friends with everybody," he says, "and that's pretty priceless."
Cary Darling is the Star-Telegram pop culture critic, 817-390-7571 - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Very cool review of Airline's album, Farewell Republica"

For all the slings and arrows shot at 1970s pop and rock – not metal, not disco, not AM lite rock but actual straight-ahead pop and rock – it's funny to see how well the supposedly lame relics of the era have survived. People like to talk about how The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones changed so many lives, but the facts don't lie: Billy Joel, Rickie Lee Jones and Elton John are still around and kicking while their supposedly more credible punk and art-rock brethren have long since disappeared for one reason or another. If ever an argument need be made about which of popular appeal and critical acclaim carry more weight, the decade as a whole may end the discussion forever.

Not a throwback band per se – and don't dare call them that – Dallas, TX-based Airline's debut album Farewell Republica is at once a full amalgamation of so much of this strangely timeless music but somehow not anything exactly like any of the bands they so obviously borrow from. Hints of everything from David Bowie to James Taylor to Pink Floyd to Harvest-era Neil Young pepper the disc, yet the album never comes off as anything rehashed or recycled. Part of this may be the result of its scant 38 minute running time, but most of it stems from Republica's adherence to those mighty and timeless principles that make any music great: tightly-crafted songs, lean arrangements and knowing when it's time to go full-bore.

With its sometimes bizarre arrangements, almost indescribable melodies and vocalist/songwriter Rob Holley leading the way, it's tempting to call this another take on the eccentric, schizo-pop format revived by the likes of Badly Drawn Boy (or the first two albums' worth of Nelly Furtado). This would be a flawed statement, for starters because Airline are far more collaborative than any of those bizarre Damon Gough projects but more significantly because the expert touches at the console by Stuart Sikes actually put Farewell Republica closer to the work of a classic pop-leaning Brian Eno, be it the reverb-soaked melancholia of "Once in a Blue Moon" or staccato electric pianos that drive the particularly rocking and anthemic "Ulysses." That's not to say the songs are overtly weird – although some are, i.e. the drunken Beatles-esque dirge of "The Battle of Never Amount" – but Airline rely less upon blatant nonsense and more upon a continual sense of adventure, which is no small feat considering you could just as easily assume the album's length and age were the same number.

Recommended Tracks: "About to Bend" consists of three-and-a-half of the most glorious minutes of throwback pop in recent memory, and with some excellent lap steel guitar; "Evil Livia" is the group at its simplest yet also its catchiest. -


The band's initial full-length album, Farewell Republica, was released in March 2008 Charted as a CMJ Top 200 album. It has received airplay from over 50 college radio stations. The band is working on it's second album, to be named and released in February 2009.



Airline, a rock band from Dallas, TX, is having a great year. It's most recent album charted in the College Music Journal (CMJ) Top 200 in 2008. The album has gained attention and licensing deals from MTV Networks, E!TV Network and OXYGEN Network for use on various TV shows such as The Hills, Living with Lohan, Keeping up with The Kardashians, Road Rules, and Bad Girls Club.

Bandmembers came together in 2006 to develop heady, patient and carefully-crafted rock songs written by Minneapolis native and frontman Robert Holley. Holley's lyrics are often driven by his passion for history and the lessons which can be learned from it. Airline is greatly influenced by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many other lesser known indie rock bands in and around the US and Europe.

The band owns the US trademark for the band name "Airline".