By Sam Moore Jolie Holliday has learned a lot recently about performing under pressure. That’s why today’s CD release for “Somebody Who Can,” which coincides with singing her new single, “Soldier,” in front of a group of military fans at Fort Hood, should be a breeze. It’s not the first time for Jolie to perform the song in public. In fact, the audience today – an anticipated crowd of 35,000 soldiers and their families – will be neither the largest group, nor the smallest group, to have heard it. “Soldiers” is a tribute to the Armed Forces, and particularly to Chris Kyle and his family. Kyle is the military hero who was killed at a gun range while trying to help a fellow veteran work through his own emotional scars from war. “I was honored to sing at Chris’ memorial service a few weeks ago at Cowboys Stadium,” she said. “So we are dedicating this CD and song to them.” On the Saturday prior to the service, Jolie and fellow Texas artist Sonny Burgess were invited to go to Kyle’s family’s home, to perform the song for those who were closest to him. Burgess thought it would be a comforting gift to them. It was in a basic living room setting. “It was just me, Sonny and a guitar. His wife and kids and family, along with several Navy Seals who were pallbearers, were gathered. His guns were hanging on the wall. It was an experience
I can’t really explain. It was so emotional and so touching. I felt like I knew that family my entire life. “I sat down and sang the song. I barely got through it. We all had a moment.
And the respect and the stories I heard from his family and the Seals. It was just an amazing experience. The lyrics to the song are so powerful. I hope it helped them. “ Playing in the home was much tougher for Jolie than to play in front of the thousands in attendance a few days later at the memorial service in Cowboys Stadium. “It was definitely overwhelming in the stadium,” she said. “Everybody was there. Neal McCoy and Randy Travis were there to sing. But it was something I expected. I can honestly say that, now, every time I sing that song, I think of that experience in Chris Kyle’s home.” “Soldiers” is a powerful, patriotic song. It talks about the team of soldiers, and how those lives and bonds bless the lives of their families. A video is being planned. She said people come up with their own testimonials, sparked from the lyrics. Those testimonials will be incorporated into the video. “I kind of did my own thing with this,” she said. “There’s been such a controversy lately over the difference between Texas and the Nashville scene. I am kind of involved in both. I am trying to stay mainstream; but at the same time, all the songs were written in Nashville and all my friends wrote them.” Jolie has an interesting take on the Texas versus Nashville debate. She respects both, and favors neither. “In my opinion, I think it is all political – just like the rest of the world,” she said. “We are all working together, and we are all high caliber musicians. It really comes down to what works best for you, and you go after
it.” She said she may get some heat for recording the new CD in Texas, rather than in Nashville. But in reality, no one can tell by the quality where it was done. “I believe without a doubt, if someone likes a song, they will like it no matter where it was recorded or who played on it.” For this record, Jolie decided to use her own band to record, rather than use studio musicians. They have been together 14 years, and all have Texas roots. Jolie said each always tends to know what the other is thinking. She knows they are all very talented, not only live, but also in the studio. So she decided to, as she said, “dance with the ones who brought you.” The CD was recorded in a Tyler studio. And Jolie handpicked each song. There was no real focus for the direction. Rather, they were all songs that allow her to be true to who she is. And she hopes that with the 12 songs, there will be something that most everyone can relate to. “There’s even a song called ‘Waffle House.’ Who can’t relate to a Waffle House!” she joked. “If you sing about it, live about it, you can obviously deliver a song,” Jolie commented. “It has a little traditional country to it, as well as trying to keep it a little mainstream, to what country music is today.” Jolie’s roots are in traditional country. And she still relates to it today. “I know when I hear a George Strait song or a Conway Twitty song, I want to keep listening to it. Whatever day I’m having, or whatever mood I’m in, music just helps me. And I hope it will help other people, too.” When Jolie was born, her mom was in a band, playing primarily folk. So she was exposed to that. She was memorizing songs by the time she was 5. And her grandfather loved traditional country. He introduced her to that. Today, every time she hears one of those old songs, it takes her back to her childhood. As Jolie got older, she began performing in public. She participated in high school activities; but for her, the music was always there. She did it then because she loved it; she does it today because she loves it. Jolie Holliday has had success on the international stage. She has reached #1 on the indie charts. She has played with some of the biggest names in country music. And she loves Texas. Jolie has created a large fan base. She is a regular performer at the State Fair of Texas. “They are so loyal and supportive,” she said of her fans. “For me, that’s what it’s about. If I can keep doing what I want to do and put the music I want to put out, and have these people who still want to follow and support me, then that’s my job! “I’ve learned a lot, messed up a lot, and will continue to make mistakes. With Texas being such a cool market, we continue to go after the Texas music scene. It seems to be tough for females to make it in country music. But that doesn’t scare me a bit. I’m going to keep on going.”
Posted by: Sam Moore
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