Solomon's Hollow
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Solomon's Hollow

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States
Band Folk Soul

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The best kept secret in music

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Review: Solomon’s Hollow – Genre Studies

Folk music can be hugely dividing, with numerous people completely ignoring or being repulsed by anything tarred with the dreaded folk brush. There’s still a common misconception that repels many, so I’ll banish that now; not all folk sounds identical to Bob Dylan, in the same way that by listening to Madonna, you haven’t experienced every form of pop music. So when talking about Solomon’s Hollow, I sincerely hope that no one is instantaneously dismissive when I refer to him as folk music.

After emerging from extremely DIY roots, Nate A aka Solomon’s Hollow began by distributing free home-made CD’s after gigs, featuring several of his lo-fi inspired tracks. Genre Studies is his newest release, and was made available towards the end of last year through Barn Owl Records. This collection of eight tracks is a fantastic introduction to those unsure on the beauty and integrity of folk influenced music; opener Silent Film is a gorgeous sonnet, with Nate’s soothing voice gently guiding the track along it’s course. Building up alongside his vocals, there’s touches of Horse Feathers, Iron & Wine and Devendra Banhart, yet it’s by no means copycat music.

Elsewhere on the mini-LP, there’s the entirely instrumental In The House Of Mystery, a hauntingly poignant violin, guitar and piano affair. Serving as somewhat of an intro for Dakota, a stunning ode to a mystery girl, featuring the LP’s standout lyric ‘too old to grow, too young to know’. There’s a true sense of longing that emanates from the track, as Solomon’s Hollow delves deeper into the intricate details of his relationship with the alluring Dakota.

It’s a moving and illustriously indecisive listen, fusing modern lo-fi sounds with more traditional folk driven moments. It remains completely honest and heartfelt throughout, yet never bathes itself in overindulgence, allowing Solomon’s Hollow to develop a true personality of his own. Head over to Barn Owl Records to download Genre Studies. - Crack in the Road


Sometimes the right type of music streaming into one's home can transform the harsh reality of the world outside. So it was for me today, as the fleeting, mellow sounds of Solomon's Hollow drifted from the speakers, forming images of a warm, relaxing middle American day spent on the deck, in stark contrast to the foulness of the New York thunder storm lashing at my window panes.

With a style firmly rooted in the involute creations of songsmiths like Iron & Wine and Joanna Newsom, there's a folk bent here that rides, with confident subtlety, away from the monotone plod of some such acoustic artists. The secret ingredient seems to lie in the attention to detail of Nate Agenbroad, the Boise, ID based creative force behind the more enigmatic musical monicker.

By his own admission, this gent is unable to hand over creative control, even to the point of mixing and mastering the songs himself. Perhaps to the chagrin of talented sound engineers everywhere, the results speak for themselves, with the potential of each song realised. The minute detail is wherein much of the beauty lies, the lilting harmonica that opens Dakota, or the distant vocal of Silent Film, striving to be the equal of the winding instrumentation weaving atop it, providing cases in point.

More than capable of providing escape to a calmer place, the new album Genre Studies should find plenty of listeners seeking out its tranquil landscape come the release in November. And if such conditions continue here in New York, I'll keep Solomon's Hollow as my Sunday sound track for the foreseeable future. - Heavier Than Air


Discography

Stops & Starts (2008); Genre Studies (2010)

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Bio

Solomon's Hollow was originally a solo studio project of Boise, ID native Nate Agenbroad but has grown into a multi-human live band since Agenbroad moved to Portland, OR in September of 2010. This latest incarnation of Solomon's Hollow reflects Agenbroad's growing love of jazz and soul while remaining true to the intimacy and intricacy of the original folk-rooted bedroom-studio recordings. The result is what might happen if, say, Sam Beam and Andrew Bird were to take a cross-country trip in a beat-up VW Bus listening to nothing but Nat King Cole Trio records and then release a collaborative album upon their arrival in Memphis. Nick Drake's ghost might make a few guest appearances as well, or maybe Thelonious Monk's -- you never know. The songs are in a constant state of reinvention, so now matter how well you familiarize yourself with the Solomon's Hollow catalogue, you're bound to hear something different with each set you catch.