Tag Archives: Callaghan

Stevie Holland – Life Goes On

Stevie HollandStevie Holland – Life Goes On
(150 Music)
Released – June 30, 2015

Many singers (or those who represent them), make comparisons in their publicity to giants in the business.

“Like Ella Fitzgerald,” one might say, “(NAME) is a vocalist who…”

Or, “In a style reminiscent of Peggy Lee, (NAME) has a unique sense of…”

You get the idea.

So when I get a comparison in my head that’s sort of off that well worn track, I get a little nervous. Not that I’m necessarily trying to win anyone’s approval; rather, the fear is that I’ll be so out of left field that it will demean the whole piece.

Stevie Holland reminds me of Mel Tormé.

Tormé had a style that sounded like anyone could do what he did. Anyone with lots of practice, spot-on ability to hit the notes, an impeccable, nobody-can-touch-me sense of swing, and the confidence that says yeah…anyone can do this.

Go ahead and try.

So, so effortless, she makes it sound. The great ones do. Never so much as in this set, that opens with that Arlen/Mercer classic, “Skylark,” and glides through pieces both old classic (“Tea For Two), new classic (James Taylor’s “Another Gray Morning), and fresh – Ms. Holland’s own “Tomorrow’s Looking Brighter Today,” with husband and composer Gary William Friedman.

Stevie Holland

Grammy award winner Todd Barkan (This year’s “Best Latin Jazz Album”) produces. The backing band includes Randy Ingram, piano; Peter Brendler, bass; and Jeff Davis on drums. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton guests on three tracks, and a string quartet appears on two.

It may sound easy, but don’t try this at home, kids.

This set is very highly recommended.

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Tracks in bold will be added to the playlist at 62ndStreet.com.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Callaghan, the US-based, British-born country/pop/adult contemporary artist. “When You Loved Me” was one of the tracks I liked a lot.


Callaghan – A History of Now

Callaghan - A History of NowCallaghan – A History Of Now
(Green Town Music)
Released – April 7, 2015 (US)
Released – April 13, 2015 (UK)

Take a little bit of US country music – add just a little of that British anthemic pop, and mix in just a little of that mainstream Adult Contemporary “Light Rock, Less Talk” sound.

…and you’d have something approaching Georgina Callaghan.

British by birth, now living in Nashville by way of Atlanta, Ms. Callaghan (who performs under her last name alone) is a hard-workin’, “on the road again” musician – making a little progress now in making herself a household name.

Playing everything from living rooms to headlining in concert halls along the way. She writes, “Being an independent artist is challenging wherever you are and you definitely need a good sense of determination to keep motivating yourself and working at it.”


And, if one is to believe the songs on “A History of Now,” mostly having fun doing it. If writing feel good music is a sin, this young woman is surely headed for…well, you know; but she’ll soon have old Satan himself tapping his foot and smiling. On the other hand, there’s no better road to musical heaven than a good hook – that phrase upon which everything else hangs – and the one that stays in your head.

Now – after four years in the colonies, she’s ready to return to the UK, with this album dropping and kicking off a brief tour this month before returning to the US for house shows that extend through June. “I’d always had it in my mind that I would come back to the UK. I wanted to get a good foundation built in the US so I had time to focus properly on touring in the UK again, and I’m so excited to finally be sharing my music with people back home.”

The two bookends to these dozen tracks are my favorites – “Crazy Beautiful Life,” and “We Don’t Have To Change The World.” But I’d also add the melancholy “When You Loved Me,” and the nearly-spiritual “Who Would I Be,” just for a change of pace.

When this young woman does become that household name, they’ll say it happened “overnight.”

But we’ll know better.

This set is very highly recommended.


(Titles in bold added to the playlist at 62ndStreet.com Radio)