It'll take just a few seconds to find out if you're likely to fall in love with Jolie Holland. That's what happened to me about eight years ago: Holland was a founding member of The Be Good Tanyas, and I've been listening faithfully to the Texas-born, Brooklyn-based singer ever since. It's the yearning in her voice that gets me: I've heard it most poignantly in Billie Holiday, and it's such an honest expression of pain and want.
In this intimate performance at the NPR Music offices, Holland closes with a special, unrecorded song called "First Sign of Spring." The other tunes — "Tender Mirror" and "The Devil's Sake" — are from her sixth album, 2011's Pint of Blood. There's rocky grit in that record that you won't hear in this acoustic performance, but the unadorned tone just makes her lyrics and voice all the more touching.
Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Mallory Benedict/NPR