Holly McGarry
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Holly McGarry

Sandpoint, Idaho, United States | SELF

Sandpoint, Idaho, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"StoryTelling Company Weaves Together Tales, Fun"

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 10:00 am

StoryTelling Company weaves together tales, fun By CAMERON RASMUSSON Staff writer Bonner County Daily Bee | 0 comments

SANDPOINT — The StoryTelling Company is making some substantial changes as it moves into its seventh season.

Starting with a performance tonight, the season will welcome some new talent, segments and staff members — changes that founder and director Sandy Compton said should make for one of the best seasons yet.


Attendees of Saturday’s performance will get a first taste of the developments with appearances by local singer and songwriter Holly McGarry, world traveler Gary Payton and the rest of the company.

A young talent raised in Sandpoint, McGarry has performed at the Festival at Sandpoint and many other venues. Compton said her musical styling will be sure to impress everyone, especially given her youth.

“Having Holly for our inaugural event of the season is incredible luck,” he said. “She’s a great presence on any stage.”

Freshly returned from a trip to eastern hemisphere countries like Russia and Turkey, Gary will follow up on McGarry’s performance with tales about his travels, including his visits with the Dalai Lama.

This season will also add the new segment “How Does This Thing Work?” hosted by technical director Kelly McTavish. During his time on stage, McTavish reveals the mysteries of mechanical devices, explaining the forces at work that make it function. Audience members can even suggest items to be covered in future shows.

Local musicians will also enjoy more stage time this season. Individuals like McGarry, Fiddlin’ Red, Samantha Carston and The Western Family Band will all get chances to shine on stage.

“We have incredible talents in this town, some well-known and some not-so-well-known,” McTavish said. “This year, we are going to give that talent more time on stage, which I think will be good for them, the Company and the audience.”

Last but not least, company associates are welcoming Corinna Lockwood into the family. Lockwood will provide vital organizational assistance as the company continues to expand.

“Corrina brings some great energy to the Company,” Compton said.

The Saturday show begins at 7:15 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 at the door and include complimentary hors d’oevres.

- Bonner County Daily Bee


"'Small Town Kid' Makes Good"

WORDS: 683
Small Town Kid makes good
Holly McGarry gearing up for release of debut album
By Zach Hagadone
For SPR
It’s been months in the making – and required no small amount of interstate scrambling – but the debut album from Sandpoint ingénue Holly McGarry is finally slated for release.
“It was kinda crazy,” said the 17-year-old singer/songwriter, who is currently in her junior year at Sandpoint High School.
According to McGarry, she recorded the 12-track album locally but wasn’t happy with the results. Through a connection with Laurie and Katelyn Shook, of the Shook Twins; cellist Lane Exworthy; and bass player Kyle Volkman, McGarry was able to arrange time with Indigital Recording Studio in Santa Cruz, Calif., but when she took her first trip to record with the quartet she found herself “on sort of a solo mission.”
Nonetheless, McGarry recorded her tracks and about a month later was able to meet up with the Shooks, Exworthy and Volkman back at the studio.
With the songs recorded, it was another two months of mixing followed by uploading and replication. Finally, “it’s just a matter of getting everything booked for the release,” McGarry said.
“Everything’s pretty much out of my hands now, and that’s kind of a huge weight off my shoulders,” she said. “It feels really good to have that done; it’s been such a crazy long process.”
McGarry’s album – her first – is titled Small Town Kids and will be officially released at a party at the Panida Little Theater on February 25.
For a young musician, the process was a learning experience both from a technical and artistic standpoint.
“Certainly being in a real studio and working with other musicians, that was a huge stepping stone,” McGarry said, “but just starting to write my own music and sharing it with everyone – that’s huge. Also, that time being on my own in Santa Cruz and having to figure out things at more of a real world level was a big experience for me.”
One of the first things a listener comes across when encountering McGarry is her modesty, but her skill with a guitar and seemingly native talent at songwriting give her work the accomplished feel and confidence of a veteran performer.
The majority of the tracks on Small Town Kids were written in the summer of 2010 and cover a range of influences, McGarry said.
“Some of the inspiration came from just watching a movie with some of my friends; others had a little more of an emotional attachment,” she said. For instance, the song “My Will” was inspired by a friend who passed away. The energy on the CD, McGarry explained, ranges from grieving to healing to the restlessness of coming of age in a small town and preparing for a life in the larger world.
Even the process of cutting a record has helped push her into that bigger musical existence.
“It definitely changed a lot when other instruments and the Shooks’ vocals were added. It was kind of surprising; they were almost like totally different songs,” she said. “It’s kinda hard to play solo now just knowing what they sound like with other people on it.”
When she graduates from SHS next January (a semester early), McGarry plans to break away from Sandpoint for a tour through Oregon and Montana. While she’s been good about keeping up her studies while building on her music – she only missed one day of school through the whole recording process in California – McGarry is excited to be out on her own.
“I’ll just kind of keep writing and playing out as much as I can,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll look back later on and have a lot of memories attached to that time period … but I find myself wondering what in the world I got myself into.”

Mark your calendars for the Small Town Kids release party February 25 at the Panida Little Theater from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. with McGarry and yet-to-be-announced special guests. In the meantime, catch McGarry at the Pend d’Oreille Winery on February 11 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. and check her out on Facebook. Watch an interview with McGarry on YouTube, produced by Sandpoint-based Surfs Up Web Video Marketing.
- John T. Reuter, Zach Hagdone, Chris DeCleur


"Review: 'Small Town Kids'"

WORDS: 823
Review: ‘Small Town Kids’
Local singer/songwriter Holly McGarry’s bright future
By Adrian Murillo
For SPR
If Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan had a child, it would be Holly McGarry.
Sometimes the hardest thing to see hides in plain sight. That could be McGarry’s take on life judging from her debut CD, “Small Town Kids;” it certainly speaks to my listening experience of it.
At first blush, the clean, crisp production seemed to spotlight the spare, economical quality of the acoustic songs – some solo, a few featuring bass (Kyle Volkman), cello (Lane Exworthy) and the vocal harmonies of Laurie and Katelyn Shook – to tasty effect.
But then I started to really listen to her voice and I realized that what I misheard as simplicity and reticence was a young woman’s calm faith after the deluge, before Enlightenment.
It’s too soon in her career to call it The Voice even though it is infused with a haunting quality of What Is Yet To Come. Too big, in my opinion, for one genre, her voice drips with erotic irony; the sound of morning sunlight pouring through a window with motes of dust dancing in its beams.
On tracks like “Lolo” and the Dylan-esque “Fingerprints,” she sings words like a shy horn player trying out a new instrument. Other times her dry, Billie Holiday-like tenderness blossoms into smoke and melancholy deepening the mystery and irony of her vocal work, her intention.
It is her voice, more than words, that carries the message about the transitory nature of life with the kind of existential poetics heard in the song “Dreaming eyes.”
On the title track, she sings of weariness with a clean, tight groove; a very clever girl bearing witness to the future woman. She’s cool, this 17-year-old girl, dropping anchors of ’60s sensibility, wisdom, anarchy, our collective losses, to counteract the gravity-free flight of innocence.
She has faith in her stories. She makes you come to her with magnetic ease.
She plays with control on songs like “From My Window,” and one senses she’s building herself bridges; the song cries out for one, and yet, the song itself could serve as a bridge to cross over to where the light is different.
McGarry is not destined to be a mere entertainer, a local workhorse in service of the tourist economy. She is a storyteller (all the songs on “Small Town Kids” are originals) in search of the same things Dylan and Lady Day were: truth, freedom, integrity, the right love.
Her artistic journey may be as incredible as Joni Mitchell’s, who began as a young, solo folk singer/guitarist and evolved into a jazz singer-poet.
I’d like to hear her with a solid rhythm unit. When Exworthy accompanies her, his cello brings the sound of wood to ignite the sparks of her intelligent eye, opening space for the warm fire of her voice to flow, leap, explore.
Imagine what she could do with more liquid bass lines and jazz flavored violin and clarinet. The potential in her voice is staggering to contemplate.
Many young performers make the mistake of equating a point of view with making a definitive statement about the meaning of life. While POV is essential to performance, it has to grow from within – the organic result of a disciplined, balanced development of your sound, feeling and technique.
“Small Town Kids” announces the birth of such a juggler; an artist who works the magic of understatement that leaves indelible impressions. It is the voice of brave vulnerability on the arousal threshold.
My advice to Holly: Go your own way. Resist the game of fame, money and the commercial and cultural pressures to “represent” – our town, your gender, a specific genre of music, whatever.
Today’s recording technology makes everything so easy that many young artists balk at the idea of paying their dues. Technology fronts skills they don’t actually possess, so keep wood-shedding, because in these lost times the higher goal is the live, intimate, charged performance.
Holly McGarry is one of those artists who have to be seen to be believed.
On the threshold of adult life and her artistic career, she is a wise old soul in a young body singing of sadness, muted joy and love with no room to grow; but when she finally crafts her space and catches up with herself, bringing her natural authority to harvest o’er time, all who listen will know a beautiful spirit is ageless and sings with aching wisdom at the outset of life and inspired clarity in the twilight years.
I look forward to years of witnessing and listening to her build that rainbow bridge.

SIDEBAR:
‘Small Town Kids’ CD release party
Get a fresh-out-of-the-studio copy of Holly McGarry’s debut, “Small Town Kids,” at her CD release party, 7 p.m. February 25 at the Panida Little Theater.
In addition to the sale of copies of “Small Town Kids,” audiences will also be treated to a live, intimate concert by McGarry, with local singer/songwriter (and friend) Josh Hedlund opening.
Tickets are $10
- John T. Reuter, Zach Hagdone, Chris DeCleur


"A Healthy Dose of Hotels and Highways"

I initially asked The Shook Twins to join us. They are a folksy/rootsy duo of twin sisters with a totally engrossing live show and, of course, the support of their town behind them. Our schedules didn’t line up but they introduced us to Holly McGarry’s music and when we listened, what we heard wasn’t surprising given the community up there, though it is remarkable.

It wasn’t surprising that Sandpoint had churned out another folksy/rootsy/dream-pop artist with great stuff. But Holly is 17. Seventeen! Now, I was 17 and 18 when I started posting music on mp3.com and I have buried and tried to forget the music I was writing and sharing with the world at that time. I’m sure Pat and Lisa would agree. Writing music at that age is usually a wait-and-see kind of thing — as in, let’s just wait and see where this goes, there might be something here.

Not so with Holly. Listen for yourself. She’s got a full-on artistic identity and she’s surrounded herself with people that are nurturing her far beyond the borders of Sandpoint.

That identity is not the product of studio polish either. Opening up the show for us in late March she was poised and confident and gracious enough to let us join her for a couple tunes. It’s always a thrill to have Lisa and Pat on stage with you in a situation like that. No matter how badly I misunderstand the groove or just overstepped myself as the drummer, Lisa nailed those harmonies that can’t help but make you feel good and Pat stood right next to Holly learning the changes, being her sideman and giving her his energy. We had a wonderful time. It’s inevitable that we’ll meet up with her down the road long past the point where her age is the main point of focus. Soon people everywhere will have to forget who’s singing and just listen to her

Holly’s on Facebook and has some videos on YouTube

-syd

- WorkPress


"Ticket time"

"Local singer-songwriter and recent Sandpoint High School grad Holly McGarry will also be opening the show [Chris Isaak and Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real at the Festival of Sandpoint] with her distinctive, dreamy, too-damn-good-for-her-age acoustic origionals." - Zach Hagadone, John T. Reuter, and Chris DeCleur


Discography

Small Town Kids
12 song CD recorded at Indigital Studio in Santa Cruz, CA this year with Kyle Volkman on bass, Lane Exworthy on cello, and Laurie & Katelyn Shook (of Shook Twins) on vocal harmonies. Amy Jo West photography did the album cover.

Photos

Bio

Holly McGarry is an 18 year old singer/songwriter who channles influences like Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Gillian Welch to create a sound uniquely her own. She hails from a small town in the northwest which has supplied her with a substancial amount of inspiration and support. Holly has played at places such as the Nortwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, Oregon Country Fair with Shook Twins, has opened for acts such as Carrie Rodriguez, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real and Chris Isaak at the Festival at Sandpoint. She has also played many theatres, coffee shops and wine bars in the Northwest.