Ali Holder
Gig Seeker Pro

Ali Holder

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

Music

Press


The Austin-by-way-of-Wichita Falls singer-songwriter brings an aching melody to a song about inhabiting your youth.There’s no shortage of great music being made in Texas, by Texans: from slide guitars to 808s, from accordions to distortion pedals, the tapestry of Texas includes the traditions of George Strait, Pantera, UGK, At the Drive-In, and Freddy Fender. Today’s burgeoning artists are tomorrow’s legends, and on the Daily Post’s song premieres, artists explain why their latest tracks are worthy of your time and attention. This week, Wichita Falls native (and current Austinite) Ali Holder brings us “Feel Alive,” a whiskey-soaked piece of sad country-influenced songwriting that recalls Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams. She has more like it on her six-song EP From My Veins Will Fall, out September 18—but first, she tells us about the song below. - Texas Monthly


Ali Holder’s swirl of jazzy and bluesy Americana defies genre labels and keeps listeners engaged through all of its twists and turns. After releasing her first album, In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, Holder embarked on a ten-day songwriting retreat in Medina, Texas to work on her second EP, From My Veins Will Fall. Largly inspired by the novels of Steven King, her latest release beautifully captures her hauntingly rich alto timbre. - KUTX 98.9 Austin's NPR Affiliate.


Ali Holder’s music has been described as a combination of Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams, and the Austin-based singer-songwriter doesn’t disagree. “I grew up listening to Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson, and they were really my first influences in music,” says Holder, who was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, and earned a master’s degree in art education at the University of Texas in Austin. “However, when I was 14 years old and actually getting emotionally moved by music, it was Lucinda and Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, and Uncle Tupelo. So, yes, that makes sense to me, and I am super-flattered by that compliment.

“To me, Lucinda was everything back then and mostly still is,” she adds. “The Car Wheels on A Gravel Road album was everything I loved in one place – love, loss, growing up, the South. And Ryan Adams spoke very loud to the emotionally angsty romantic I was and still am. I love the different worlds they have entered into musically throughout the years for better or worse.”

With such prolific influences seeping into her music, what are her own musical aims? “I am definitely a songwriter,” she says. “I love the words. I love the music as well, of course, and how it brings a song to life. Although I write the music and lyrics in tandem, the music usually doesn't find its home until I've been playing it with the band for a while. My aims are to just constantly evolve as a writer and a musician. I would love to explore all parts of the music world as time goes on. I love playing live, but I would love to venture into a writers’ room in Nashville or collaborate with the visual arts, literature, or soundtracks.”

Holder’s most recent release, a six-song EP titled From My Veins Will Fall, was released in September. To make it, she isolated herself for 10 days at a ranch in Medina, Texas, reading Stephen King when not working on the EP.

Holder says the recording is different from her full-length 2013 debut album In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, which was “an amalgam of writing over the years” and “a sampling of different genres.” One song on the debut was written 10 years before the album’s release, and another song was written about a month before it was recorded in 2013.

On From My Veins Will Fall, Holder wrote most of the songs in a week during a writing residency in the Texas Hill Country. “I think the EP is more cohesive in writing and musical styles,” she says. “I was able to organically find more of a sound for myself this time around.”

Holder will be performing in Austin and a few other Texas cities until late August, when she heads to California for three shows, and to Montana for another. She says she must have seen a thousand “best” concerts as a spectator, but one that immediately comes to mind is a Van Morrison show.

“It was somewhere in Arlington, Texas, when I was in college living in Dallas-Fort Worth between 2004 and 2009,” she says. “It surprises me that this popped into my head, but it was a truly great show. I think what struck me was Van’s stage presence and how pristine his voice still was. Also, he had a ridiculously large band and trumpet section, and it was overwhelmingly beautiful. This was before I ever played with a band, and I was amazed how that many people could work for the greater good on one stage.”

The concert that most influenced Holder as a musician, though, was in 2001, when she was “14 or 15 years old.” She saw Walt Wilkins, Susan Gibson, and Owen Temple play at a songwriters’ show called Lazy Boy Supper Club at the Royal Theater in Archer City, Texas.

“For me, that was the tipping point,” she says. “Seeing and hearing Susan blew me away. Until then, there weren’t any women I had seen live except for a few famous country singers here and there. But I knew in that moment it was what I wanted to do. It prompted me to get a guitar and start writing.” - No Depression


Link: http://www.nodepression.com/m/blogpost?id=2342817%3ABlogPost%3A984571

The swinging two step of Falling Up is a surprising and addictive opening to Texas singer Ali Holder’s In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, her debut solo album. The bluesy electric guitar and fiddle of the song reaches right through the speakers and pull you into the album right from the start.
Holder’s got a great, addictive bluesy voice and the material here–all originals by Holder–shows a solid grasp of what makes a good song. The 27 year old Holder’s been performing live since she was 16, and it shows: her songs are personal and intimate but feel like experiences we can all share. Lost & Found, You and I and Mourning Dove are particularly fine examples.
While the opening track has its roots firmly in the blues, songs like Drinking Doubles demonstrate more of a country aesthetic. Holder moves smoothly between styles and presents a collection of highly listenable songs to welcome you into her world with.
In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is named in honour of an astrological event where the planet Saturn is said to return to to the same place in the sky as the moment of a person’s birth. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 27 years for a follow up: this is a solid debut that shows a lot of promise for the future. In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is available on iTunes. Ali Holder is touring Texas to celebrate the launch of her album. - No Depression


Ali Holder, recent graduate student at UT, chose a different college town to record her debut, In Preparation for Saturn’s Return. That road trip to Oxford, Miss., paid off, too. Bagging the brightest musical movements throughout the South, the 27-year-old singer and her band blend Mississippi blues, New Orleans brass, and, a given for the Texas native, Southwestern country, all topped with an R&B-rounded alto. Holder’s measured vocals are convincing in each form they take: the tears-in-my-beers country of “Drinking Double,” the blues smoke of “Falling Up,” and even the simplicity of free jazz cut “Moon.” Compositionally, her band zooms between the genre buffet with ease and smooth transition. We hope to see more of Holder, even after Saturn’s Return. - Austin Chronicle


Though her sound is rooted in folk, traces of R&B and blues are present, and the pedal steel found on several tracks serves as a perfect accompaniment to Holder’s smoky alto. While the songs on ‘In Preparation fro Saturn’s Return’ are an intimate look at Holder’s past, they’re also a sign of a very bright future. - Texas Music Magazine


Ali Holder operates on an interstellar plane of songwriting, allowing her impassioned folk music to take influence from blues, country, R&B and the stars above. In Preparation For Saturn’s Return is the appropriate name of 27 year old Holder’s debut album, titled so in reference to the time it takes Saturn to make a full orbit around the sun: 27 years. As she prepares to release this debut on August 27th, Ali realizes that she has completed a similar cycle in her life. Recently graduated from the University of Texas with an M.A. in Art Education, Holder’s smoky vocals paint her songs with the ups and downs of merging into adulthood and beginning new chapters.
Ali Holder has been touring around Texas in preparation of her album’s release but we were lucky enough to have her recently stop by for a Studio 1A session – don’t miss the results below! - KUTX Austin


Ali Holder, recent graduate student at UT, chose a different college town to record her debut, In Preparation for Saturn’s Return. That road trip to Oxford, Miss., paid off, too. Bagging the brightest musical movements throughout the South, the 27-year-old singer and her band blend Mississippi blues, New Orleans brass, and, a given for the Texas native, Southwestern country, all topped with an R&B-rounded alto. Holder’s measured vocals are convincing in each form they take: the tears-in-my-beers country of “Drinking Double,” the blues smoke of “Falling Up,” and even the simplicity of free jazz cut “Moon.” Compositionally, her band zooms between the genre buffet with ease and smooth transition. We hope to see more of Holder, even after Saturn’s Return. - Austin Chronicle


It takes Saturn about 27 years to make a full orbit around the sun, an occurrence of major astrological impact, we’re told, and one that aligns nicely with In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, the solo debut from 27-year-old Lone Star singer/songwriter Ali Holder. The album’s title also signifies the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, in Holder’s case the completion of graduate school and Saturn’s start of a promising music career. “I’m ready to take all these songs that represent different pieces of my life with me into my next stage,” says Holder. Drawing on the folk and Americana influences on prominent display during her stay in the university town and roots music mecca known as Austin, TX, songs like the plaintive and sweetly alluring “The Only Thing” and the waltzing melancholy of “Drinkin’ Double,” featuring Jeremy Menkin’s crying steel guitar lines, swing and sway like tunes flowing from some roadside diner jukebox. - Direct Current


Homegrown artists make mark
By Don Chance Special to the Times Record News

Friday, September 6, 2013

How about some new music from homegrown artists who are making some notable impressions in the biz, and appearing locally this weekend?

“In Preparation For Saturn’s Return” by Ali Holder

Austin singer/songwriter Ali Holder lists Wichita Falls as her hometown, but her new album, “In Preparation For Saturn’s Return,” could be her ticket to prominence on the national stage.

With a smoky blues tinge to her folk-based approach, Holder offers 10 nicely crafted, self-penned songs that show an impressive stylistic range, while never straying too far from a comfortably laid-back foundation.

And a tasteful less-is-more production sound showcases the way her vocals work perfectly with her lyrics to put her delivery out front, where it belongs.

This is music that sounds like it was made by real musicians who know and respect each other, and not just some generic gathering of first-call studio hired hands.

Kicking off with the bluesy swing of “Falling Up,” it’s obvious that Holder and her pickers were having a good time in the studio.

Playful interplay between Holder’s singing and violinist Phoebe Hunt’s freewheeling fiddle is a good indicator of the memorable music to come.

Songs like “Drinking Double,” “Mourning Dove,” “Lost and Found,” “The Only Thing” and “I Saw a Wolf,” a dark but entertaining duet with guitarist Daniel Thomas Phipps, are standouts in a whole set of standouts. Good music.
- Times Record News


I can’t say I ever thought about going to a smoky jazz lounge and hearing something twangy. After listening to Ali Holder’s solo debut, In Preparation For Saturn’s Return, I can now picture that happening. There are certainly artists fusing jazz and country or bluegrass. See our coverage of Phoebe Hunt’s latest for an example, and oh by the way she plays violin on this record and contributes vocals to several songs. But it’s Ms. Holder’s smoky voice that really pushes this into Village Vanguard or Green Mill Lounge territory.
Falling Up starts the disc with a Miles Davis-kind of cool number that just oozes hipness, not to mention some nice instrumental riffs including violin and trumpet. I Saw A Wolf features some nice organ parts and a vocal duet with guitar Daniel Thomas Phipps. Blood In the Basement is the darkest song on the album with Holder singing about “just trying to wrap my head around this thing we call love.”

For more of a twangy flavor I recommend Drinking Double. With it’s steel guitar presence it has that cheating-heart feel that any Hank Williams fan will appreciate. All With Your Help is a little funkier, but with some nice picking. Mourning Dove picks up some Appalachian sounds and with a production value that comes across as having the band sitting around your living room, very nice.
n Preparation For Saturn’s Return refers to an astrological event associated with one’s transition to adulthood and maturity. It’s a nice milestone for a songwriter to celebrate with stories of what life has taught them. Ali Holder shares some of her perspective, supported by a crack team of musicians, and turns the whole thing into a really enjoyable album.

- Twangville Nation


With a new album dropping, the singer-songwriter hits local venues with her bluesy sound.

By Courtney Bell.

Ali Holder is a quintessential Texas country crooner with a flair for the blues. Holder has released her new record of original songs, In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, named for an astrological event in which Saturn completes its orbit around the sun. Holder turns 27 years old this year, the same number of years it takes Saturn to complete its orbit and return to the same point in the sky that it occupied at the moment of her birth. This occurrence is believed to shepherd a person in to the next stage of his or her life. As Holder turns 27, she will graduate from the University of Texas with a master’s degree in art education and release this incredibly personal collection of songs about love, loss and adulthood.
Her dusty alto sound wielded through original heartbreaking lyrics creates the perfect soundtrack to an at-home dinner date or a sunny country cruise to your favorite barbeque joint on the outskirts of town. You and I inspires visions of lovers reconnecting under moonlit pecan trees on a hot Texas summer night. The sadness Holder purveys in Double Drinking crawls under your skin and forces you to feel the breakup that inspired the lyrics. Holder could be the love child of Alison Krauss and Patsy Cline with her hauntingly smoky sound intertwined in country roots. - Austin Woman Magazine


The swinging two step of Falling Up is a surprising and addictive opening to Texas singer Ali Holder’s In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, her debut solo album. The bluesy electric guitar and fiddle of the song reaches right through the speakers and pull you into the album right from the start.
Holder’s got a great, addictive bluesy voice and the material here–all originals by Holder–shows a solid grasp of what makes a good song. The 27 year old Holder’s been performing live since she was 16, and it shows: her songs are personal and intimate but feel like experiences we can all share. Lost & Found, You and I and Mourning Dove are particularly fine examples.
While the opening track has its roots firmly in the blues, songs like Drinking Doubles demonstrate more of a country aesthetic. Holder moves smoothly between styles and presents a collection of highly listenable songs to welcome you into her world with.
In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is named in honour of an astrological event where the planet Saturn is said to return to to the same place in the sky as the moment of a person’s birth. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 27 years for a follow up: this is a solid debut that shows a lot of promise for the future.
In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is available on iTunes. Ali Holder is touring Texas to celebrate the launch of her album. - No Depression


Ali Holder operates on an interstellar plane of songwriting, allowing her impassioned folk music to take influence from blues, country, R&B and the stars above. In Preparation For Saturn’s Return is the appropriate name of 27 year old Holder’s debut album, titled so in reference to the time it takes Saturn to make a full orbit around the sun: 27 years. As she prepares to release this debut on August 27th, Ali realizes that she has completed a similar cycle in her life. Recently graduated from the University of Texas with an M.A. in Art Education, Holder’s smoky vocals paint her songs with the ups and downs of merging into adulthood and beginning new chapters.
Ali Holder has been touring around Texas in preparation of her album’s release but we were lucky enough to have her recently stop by for a Studio 1A session – don’t miss the results below! - KUTX


RECOMMENDATION: Ali Holder, “In Preparation for Saturn’s Return” (forthcoming August 27)
May 24, 2013 | Author Katie

When my friend Chris Fullerton (known better to most of you as @electricpencils) sends me music, it’s usually smart to stop what I’m doing and listen. He’s got incredible taste in music, not just in terms of depth of catalogues and talents, but in width: he listens to everything. I can’t pay someone a higher compliment than that. He lives in Austin, and he’s spent a lot of time listening to Ali Holder lately. Unsurprisingly, when Chris told me I needed to check her out, it was for good reason. In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is a classic-sounding country record, full of expanse, longing, heartbreak, and incredible detail. On top of that, Ali Holder’s voice is one part Lucinda, one part Natalie Maines: deep but clear, bends but doesn’t break. I can imagine how good these songs sound in a small bar– it seems like their natural placement. But they’ve worked pretty well to underscore my longing for home here in a Louisville hotel, as well.

The plaintive fiddle that flows in and out of the first track, “You and I,” sets a hypnotic tone on from the start: between the southwestern imagery and sound, and Holder’s expressive, clear voice, it’s a record that compels you to keep listening. When she says, “Don’t you know, things could be different/ Don’t you know, we’ve got luck on our side/ Don’t you know things could be different/ For you and I, for you and I, for you and I,” you know her record is going to be full of songs about things that could have happened, or even should have happened, but are lost for one reason or another.

My favorite song is “I Saw a Wolf,” (seen here as they play it under a bridge) which has the line, “I’d kill if I had the chance,” before another fantastic Austin vocalist, Daniel Thomas Phillips, joins her on the track. It’s got a slinky natural evil to it, an embracing of all the scary, violent parts of nature (both in terms of animal and human): “I feel dangerous, I feel dangerous,” they croon together, and you believe them. So it’s especially powerful when the last stanza changes:

I wake up now at night

I wake up screaming

Covered in fright

Can’t shake this feeling

I pulled back the trigger on my gun

I decided to run… I am comforted somehow

It’s a song that goes on a complete journey, and by starting with the line, “I saw a wolf,” it’s also got a strange exoticism to it.

Musically, “Blood in the Basement” might be my favorite track. It’s got a weird Spanish feel to it, but it’s also strangely melodic in a way that I can’t put my finger on. There’s a four-note guitar line that follows the verses, and it’s got an incredible movement to it. It’s a really different sounding song, partially because she sets such a strong country tone in the beginning. This song is harder to pin down, but really hits home with lines like, “I’m just trying to pin down what we call love.”

The record fits together really well, and though I could call each song out for something wonderful: “Mourning Dove” for the swelling vocals and the bright guitar; “Lost and Found” for the strings in the background that color the feel of the song; the intricate plinking in “Moon”: it stands on its own as a whole composition just as easily. It’s got the tone of a country record, but it’s got some colors and moments that make it stand out as something separate from that community, as well. It reminds me a little of how I felt when I bought Robert Ellis’s Photographs– gorgeous classic country voice, some classic country sounds, but something deep and modern going on there too.

The record comes out August 27th, but until then, you can find Ali Holder on the web, and it seems like she’s playing Austin all the time right now. There are some other dates listed, too. For a full list, check out her website!


- Katy Darby


For her latest EP, holder and her band holed up on a ranch in Medina, with minimal internet, stacks of Stephen King novels, and buffalo galore. The influence of King and the spare surroundings are apparent from the first strums of the title track, as Holder muses about the perils of bearing her soul atop eerie twangs and tremolo. Wistfulness and melancholy prevail on this album, particularly a longing for lost youth and nostalgia for now tangled relationships in better times. “Feel Alive,” a jangly ode to flirting with danger, cuts to the chase with the outset: “It’s what you get for fooling around with younger men/They’re just children playing games.” Holder has a fondness for blunt, authentic lyrics and dramatic shifts in rhythms between versus and choruses – just when you think things are moving along at a pleasant, if predictable, pace, her songs throw out some sort of intriguing sonic twists. “Home You Built” gets off to an energetic, almost bubbly start before transitioning suddenly into a slower, plaintive refrain. It always feels on the verge of something that never quite comes, mirroring that tension between urgency and uncertainty that prevails before making an important decision. The shining star across all tracks, though, is Holder’s rich, smoky voice, which calls to mind that of classic country songstresses Emmylou Harris and Robyn Ludwick. - Texas Music Magazine


Discography


Single release each month 8/2016-11/2016:

8/16 - Gemini Gunslinger, 9/16 - Death Reborn, 10/16 - Ain't Enough to Go Around, 11/16 - Declaration of Love (singles released in lieu of forthcoming EP "Huntress Moon" in early 2017)

From My Veins Will Fall EP - Ali Holder 2015

In Preparation for Saturn's Return- Ali Holder 2013

Transgressions EP - Ali Holder & The Broken Hearted 2011

Red to Black - Ali Holder & The Raindoggs 2011

Photos

Bio

When it comes to creating music, Austin singer-songwriter Ali Holder doesn’t believe in the casual approach. To craft the songs on her EP, From My Veins Will Fall (9/18/15), she went total immersion, isolating herself on a 10-day retreat at a ranch in Medina, Texas.

Her only other encounters involved buffalo. “I had to drive through three different gates and cattle guards to get to the main house for the barest of Internet connections,” she recalls.

To reward herself after a day of intense effort, she would dive into chapters by one of her favorite writers, horror novelist Stephen King. As most King fans well know, his works have a way of clinging in the brain — and even inhabiting dreams — especially if absorbed before bedtime. At one point, Holder flashed onto a rather intriguing, if unsettling image.

“I thought to myself that if someone were to cut me open, Stephen King words would fall out,” she says. Such is the stuff of inspiration.

As it turns out, her words and music have a way of clinging in the brain as well. In a review of her 2013 debut, In Preparation for Saturn’s Return, NoDepression.com called her bluesy voice and ability to move smoothly among styles “addicting,” and praised her “solid grasp of what makes a good song.”

Lone Star Music magazine writer noted her songs exude “an urbane folk-sophisticate vibe.” And Daytrotter ranked her song, “Drinking Double” at No. 5 on its Top 100 Songs of 2013 list.

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, and raised on outlaw country, but influenced by a broad swathe of styles from country and jazz to blues and folk, Holder fell in love with songwriters early on. “Janis Joplin and the women of Lilith Fair had a big impact on me growing up,” she says. Later, she discovered Texas songwriters such as Susan Gibson and Walt Wilkins, along with Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams and Tom Waits. In college, she absorbed Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Jenny Lewis and Neko Case, along with earning undergraduate and master’s degrees in art education (at the University of Texas at Arlington and Austin, respectively).

Holder began writing, singing and playing guitar in junior high, later adding ukulele to her repertoire. In Austin, Holder fronted two bands: the folk-leaning Ali Holder & the Broken Hearted, then an R&B band, Ali Holder & the Raindoggs.

She also has expanded her musical palate to include artists such as Brandi Carlile, Susan Tedeschi, Possessed by Paul James and Lera Lynn. Their influences occasionally can be heard in these songs, but it’s her own sound — a sure voice that leans toward alto but effortlessly reaches far higher, coupled with well-targeted musical sensibilities and intelligent lyrics — that draws listeners in.

“I use slashes a lot,” Holder noted, " I don’t think I have to be any one thing.”

The six songs on From My Veins Will Fall certainly confirm that. The title tune segues from twanged-and-tremoloed guitar and ethereal vocals to a bluesy groove as she sings those King-inspired lyrics. Layered harmonies and tasteful instrumentation mark the gently captivating “Feel Alive,” which incorporates just about all of those slashed styles — plus a hint of pop. The EP’s other four Holder-penned tunes show equal strength and diversity — and a proclivity for the kind of inspiration King would love; another song, “Don’t Show the Devil” came from reading the last words of several about-to-be-executed Texans. On “Ghost of a Man,” however, the haunting is purely romantic — make that post-romantic. The song is about someone who won’t leave your thoughts no matter how hard you try to forget. “Home You Built” carries a similar theme.

In the time since her last release she played an official South By Southwest 2014 showcase and embarked on several tours. One excursion, with fellow Austin singer-songwriter Little Brave, was labeled the “Salem Soiree” because it included a pilgrimage to Salem, Mass., one of King’s renowned literary settings, and other bewitched- and occult-related spots.

To record From My Veins Will Fall, she returned to another spot infused with history: Oxford, Miss., where she recorded her first album with co-producer Andrew Ratcliffe at his Tweed Recording studio. On the outskirts of the tiny town, it’s located across the street from the church in which writer William Faulkner was married.

Sharing a house with all her bandmates except drummer Kenny Graeber, an Oxford resident, they also went total immersion, even cooking meals together and, on July 4, their last night of recording, gathering with local folk to watch fireworks in the town square.

“I really love Mississippi and all of the music rooted there,” Holder says.

Whether her inspirations come from haunting historic sites, communing with cattle or reading Stephen King, Ali Holder clearly has creative blood coursing through her veins. Let her spill some into your ears.

Band Members