Music spreads the Word
AUSTIN CHRONICLE'S REVIEW FOR THE NEW ALBUM TWIRL!
The Austin Chronicle in Texas says...
Floramay Holliday's TWIRL!
Floramay Holliday's Twirl! (Roseneath Records), an educational children's album, isn't necessarily geared to fans of her solo career or Sis Deville, but here's hoping they'll give these love songs a spin for any little ones nearby. Holliday's confident vocals genuinely shine on "Saturday," which features Carolyn Wonderland's remarkable whistling, and Holliday's own polished songwriting on 24 shortish tracks.
The Skaneateles Journal in New York says...
Artist celebrates release of children's album
SKANEATELES | A crowd of about 40 people gathered to celebrate the release of a new children's album called Twirl and hear live music by Texas native Floramay Holliday in the warm, relaxed atmosphere of Creekside Books & Coffee Tuesday evening, Aug. 13. "I can't tell you how nice it is to be in Central New York," the artist told her audience. "It's 104 degrees in Texas right now. I did go swimming today. It was glacially cold."
The euphonious night began with guitarists Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, who warmed up the crowd with some Bob Dylan and Dizzy Gillespie tunes, along with some fast-paced country and a western medley.
Their intricate fingerstyle and strumming drew hearty applause from the listeners. Not long after Holliday took the stage, Barrigar and Mazengarb joined her and played a couple songs along with Holliday's husband Gabor Racz on harmonica.
Creekside's intimate setting provided great audience participation, and several raffle winners were able to take home Twirl merchandise. Twirl is Holliday's first self-produced educational children's album, an album she has wanted to create for years. "My husband and I have been making up these silly songs for our two daughters for a long time," Holliday said. "One day I met a neighbor who had a studio, so while the kids were at school we began recording these songs. It took nine months to record and produce. It was a labor of love."
The album features a rich variety of country, blues, gospel and some raps and waltzes. Her two daughters and husband can be heard singing on the album as well. "I really enjoyed doing a children's album because there's no right or wrong way to make a children's album," she said.
A couple of weeks earlier, Holliday had done a performance for children. At Creekside, she played mainly folk, country and "Texas swing" songs. She, along with Barrigar and Mazengarb, played mostly acoustic guitar, and Barrigar also played electric guitar for a couple of songs. She performed three songs off TwirL to give the audience an idea of the album's contents.
"My favorite kind of music to perform is Americana, songs with country and blues influences," Holliday said. "I like sending a positive message through the lyrics that have a deeper meaning to them." Holliday became interested in music at a young age, and she is involved with many musical acts today. She is currently a member of Sis Deville, an all-female rock group, when she's not doing her solo work. "I started playing guitar when I was 15," she said. "I loved poetry, and I liked brightening it up with music. We had a family band called The Roseneath Ramblers."
"We usually do a concert with Floramay every summer," Mazengarb said.
Holliday and her family have been visiting Skaneateles every summer since 2001 to "escape the Texas heat."
"I love coming to Skaneateles," she said. "My husband's family has had a camp on the lake for 40 years. It's a great way to have an old-fashioned summer."
Closing with "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms," Holliday, Racz, Barrigar and Mazengarb bestowed a great night of assorted music on those at Creekside that night.
The Florence Morning News in South Carolina says...
is singing a different tune
Florence, SC native steps outside her rock and country roots for a CD of children’s music
Floramay Holliday grew up at Roseneath Farm on Cherokee Road in Florence but left for Austin, Texas, about 15 years ago to begin a career in country music.
photo by Larry Travis
TRACI BRIDGES, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. — Floramay Holliday’s music has always been a reflection of her life and soul.
She’s lived the life of a rock star — vans and highways, late night shows in smoky bars. She’s done all that and wouldn’t change a thing.
But it’s not where her life — or her music — is today.
“You know, life’s different,” Holliday said. “Our focus is our children and being a parent and spending family time together.”
Don’t worry. Holliday hasn’t forgotten about the music or shelved it. She’s just channeling it a little differently with her latest project — a children’s CD by the name of “Twirl.”
“My husband and I have been singing to our daughters since they were born, and we’ve been always talked about doing a children’s album. Finally, we just decided, ‘Let’s do it,’” said Holliday, a native of Florence who now makes her home in Dallas with her husband, Gabor Racz, and their two daughters, Flora and Adelaid.
The album has been a family project from the beginning, with everyone pitching in on singing or on an instrument. But don’t expect Barney. The music is for children of all ages and is far from juvenile.
“It’s fun, because with children’s music, you can do any and every genre,” Holliday said. “It’s real music subject matter, just more kid friendly. But it’s also very parent family. It’s really a family portrait for us. It’s really our life in song, and I think that will parlay universally.”
The songs are also teach values and knowledge — from the importance of eating family meals to the order of the planets in the solar system — all in a fun, upbeat way.
“It’s memory through melody,” Holliday said. “Children sometimes learn things easier through melody, like the ABCs, so there’s definitely an educational aspect here. The song ‘Twirl,’ for instance, is all about following instructions through dance moves. ‘Our Solar System’ uses repetition to learn the planets. Every song on the CD has a purpose.”
Music was a huge part of Holliday’s childhood, too. She spent her days listening to Waylon Jennings, Willie Mnelson and Hank Williams Sr. on her family’s home, Roseneath Farm on Cherokee Road. The country legends were favorites of Holliday’s dad, Dr. Dewey Ervin, and grew to be familiar friends to Holliday, her four siblings and her cousins, as well.
Holliday learned to play guitar while she was at The Madeira School in McLean, Va. She’d always been a writer and eventually began putting her words with the music. After high school, she went to the University of South Carolina. She continued honing her guitar skills but focused mainly on photography, which was her major. She returned to Florence after graduation and took a job as a medical photographer at McLeod Regional Medical Center. She spent her evenings playing guitar and singing at Florence’s only coffee shop at the time. Then, in 1996, Holliday’s grandmother died and she decided it was time to make her passion her mission.
Holliday packed up her truck, grabbed her dog and her guitar and hit the road for Austin, Texas — by way of New York and Idaho, where she continued to hone her skills in preparation for the big time. Finally in Austin, Holliday recorded her debut album in 1998. Several well-known Texas musicians appeared on the debut including Lloyd Maines, father of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines.
“I was lucky enough to get introduced to a great group of musicians right off the bat,” Holliday said. “I was very lucky in that sense. Austin is a big pond with a lot of fish. It’s kind of like going to the School of Music.”
A lot has happened since then.
Holliday has put out several solo albums and also founded an all-girl Southern rock band, Sis Deville, with fellow musicians Carolyn Wonderland and Shelley King.
These days, she and her family are promoting “Twirl.” They held a release party in Dallas, and this Saturday, they’ll have one at Red Bone Alley in Florence. Holliday, her family and some special guests will perform the whole CD from 3 to 5 p.m., and they invite children and adults alike to join in the fun.
“We just do a fun show and perform the record live,” Holliday said. “We’ll make a little area where the kids can dance, and I think the parents will enjoy it, too. We want it to be fun for everyone. No one’s too young or too old.”
Original Country-Folk-Rock-Bluegrass-Blues Music
Combining sultry power with gentle grit, Floramay Holliday deftly blends the essence of old-school country with a contemporary brand of alternative style. Her refreshing southern voice and songwriting is a talent unique to the music industry.
Originally from Florence, South Carolina, Floramay Holliday made her mark in Austin, Texas where she recorded her first 2 albums, “Floramay Holliday” and “Trouble & a Truer Sound”, featuring Texas legends Ray Benson and Guy Clark, paying tribute to her country roots.
After 15 years of writing and performing, Floramay released her 3rd album, “Dreams”, marking a new vision in her career. Recorded on Roseneath Records, Holliday debuts her talents as sole producer. “Dreams” is a bright, yet deeply felt collection of songs that is vastly different from her first two albums. As a wife and mother of two, her writing has matured and blossomed, bringing freshness to familiar subjects. With radio hits like the catchy “Girl’s Night”, the profound “As Long As You Can”, and the bluesy “Things You Do”, the record crosses many genres with an original flair and a powerful voice that captures the moment.
Tommy Hancock, known as the godfather of West Texas music and noted music critic, calls Floramay "a Texas angel ... and of course good and unexpected things happen around angels." Clifford Antone, owner of famed Antone's in Austin, called Floramay "one of Austin's best-kept secrets." Floramay has earned the attention of the King of Texas himself: Willie Nelson, after meeting her in Austin.
Holliday has also co-created the popular rock group, Sis Deville, with Texas State Musician, Shelley King. Sis Deville is an all-girl southern rock band featuring stunning three-part harmony and finely crafted pop songs with a Texas attitude.
She has also shared the stage with Austin's legendary rockers, the late Stephen Bruton, John Dee Graham, Monte Montgomery, Joe Ely, Toni Price, Eliza Gilkyson, Carolyn Wonderland, Reckless Kelly, James McMurtry, and Radney Foster. Floramay has worked extensively on a number of projects for Austin City Limits, and has twice been voted as Best Local Performer in Florence, South Carolina. Mayor Kirk Watson of Austin, proclaimed Nov 2, 2000, Floramay Holliday Day, a lifelong honor.
"Floramay - A Spiritual, Soulful Woman"
by Duggan Flanakin
Floramay Holliday no longer lives in Austin, but Thursday night (May 7th) Floramay had a CD release party at the Saxon Pub with her OLD Austin band that includes the amazing Arty Passes
I love this new record — nearly every song touches me in the heart. Floramay, by the way, grew up on a plantation in South Carolina with her musical family (her brother James Ervin plays bass and a little guitar on this record, her sister sang on a prior one) and later spent time working on a dude ranch in Idaho (and with all those Idaho musicians blowing Austin away, maybe picking up some of her musical skills there too). Then it was Austin for quite a long time — and lots of great memories — and a storybook romance of her own that she will maybe tell you sometime.
OKAY — forget the first 12 cuts for a moment and concentrate on the “Roseneath Romance” that closes out this collection of songs and stories. This is a tribute to her grandparents, James and FLoramay McLeod, and the romance begins with Floramay on piano, her brother James on acoustic guitar, plus Jeff Stockham on french horn and Joe Devoli on violin. The moving instrumental eventually gives way to the song itself — a tale of a gentle courtship that grew into a lifelong love, one that formed much of the framework for Floramay’s own childhood. I would buy the record JUST for these two amazingly wonderful linked pieces.
But of course that’s not all, folks! This may be Floramay’s best songwriting to date (and I have loved both of her prior recordings) — some songs are silly, others (including one “co-written” with 18th Century evangelist John Wesley) cut deep, but in all of them we get Floramay’s honest voice and that twinkle in her eye that she is famous for. “Yesterday’s Girl” kicks off the festivities. Is Floramay telling on herself (or maybe just exaggerating? — or is she totally making it all up — when she sings, “Born spoiled rotten in the land of cotton, Way on down in Dixie, She used to dance till dawn with her high heels on, feelin’ young and sexy ….” Now, I have to mention that Floramay went all the way to upstate New York to find the Barrigar Brothers (Kevin and Loren, on guitars and vocals) and their pals Matthew Rockwell (drums), Andy Rudy (piano), Leonard Stephens (pedal steel), Jeff Stockham (trumpet and French horn), and Devoli. Shelley King also sings, Gabor sings and plays harmonica, and a huge chorus of Racz women and friends — the Amazing Women of the Lake, or AWOL Singers, contribute to “Girl’s Night Out,” which MUST truly be an autobiographical song!
Speaking of fun, first there’s “Momma’s Motorcycle,” “that pretty little engine R-65,” and yet this simple little song (with pedal steel, no less) has this line about “dreams get lost when you get distracted…” Then there’s that song Gabor helped write, “Rainbows,” and that line, “You don’t need direction to know where you are…” See — fun with a bite! And there’s that good-time-feeling “Big Blue Eyes,” about taking a family drive in the summertime. “These Days” is anything but funny — “little girl lookin’ out an old front door, Watch her daddy drive away, she’s seen it before … “ But later, “We’re all under the stars, So many children with a broken heart, Find a way to believe in love, Say your prayers before you dream, God gives us the reason, To forgive Daddy’s leavin’ ….” My pals Jack Dorman and Geno Hildebrandt over at Hope Chapel love to quote John Wesley’s famed saying, “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.” Here Floramay, in “As Long As You Can,” reminds us that we are loved “by the One up above” and we must therefore not forget to “do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, whenever you can, by and by, to all the ones you can, as long as you can — Amen, Amen.”
One of the best songs (from a songwriter’s perspective) here is a joint effort with Floramay, Loren Barrigar, and Peter Ryan called “Perfect You.” On the record, it’s just Floramay on vocals and Loren Barrigar on acoustic guitar — and you never really know if this is a tragedy or a song of joy. Now, there is one cover tune — Megan Peters’ “Something To Tell You,” from her 1997 album “About Time,” which featured Mike Cross on bass and Paul Pearcy on drums. I think Floramay picked this one to sing to her husband — that part about him being a wrinkled old dude in a hundred years.
My favorite song (other than the Roseneath Romance) on the record seems to be “Slow Rain,”a pure and simple love song — “Singing you a new song Always sets me free, And I love it when you sing along in sweet harmony…..” But it is the chorus that makes this one special to me — “The sun rose and the moon goes around this old world, And the seasons flow like water when you’re near .. As we grow, I know there’s nothing left to fear, Home is where the heart is, and my heart will be right here, There’s a slow rain falling to wash away the tears…” And, yes Jenni W., there IS a French horn here!
Letter From a Fan...
Aug 15, 2012
I must discuss with you a subject of great importance. Terry and I have been married almost 20 years now, and in all that time I never knew her to drink a drop of coffee. However, now it seems she has not only become a coffee drinker, she has become an addict. I regularly find empty Starbucks cappuccino bottles in scattered trashcans around the house. I find hidden in the trunk of the car, twin 4-packs of iced Mocha Java wrapped in brown paper bags, like the ones winos love to disguise their wine bottles in. When we go to town, instead of wanting to go to a restaurant, she wants to go to Green Mountain Coffee house for a hit of cold coffee with chocolate in the bottom. She would gladly give up food if there were some caffeine offered. You may well ask, “Why is he telling me this?”. I am trying to get to the bottom of this new entanglement with “a cup of Joe”.
The people at Betty Ford have told me that the way to begin treatment is to first address the source of what “perked” her interest. Thinking long and hard, I believe I know where it all started. She heard your song “Coffee” and I believe after the 2nd or 3rd “Kick It”, she wanted to know what that was all about. After that, it only took a few “Yee-ha’s” to get her hooked. Now she mainlines espresso. It’s out of control. It may be too late for us, but I felt you should know some of the possible effects that your music could have on the youth of today. Please, consider the ramifications when you write these songs. Now I am finding that (my daughter) Rachael likes these coffee drinks and ice cream that’s coffee flavored. I have now forbidden her to listen to the “Coffee Song" unless an adult is present. I am so fearful that she may have her mother’s addictive tendencies.
I only ask that now, if you see Terry with a coffee product in her hand, could you start an intervention? Maybe if we replaced it with a nice Pinot Grigio, or a Chianti, perhaps? Thank you in advance for any consideration in this matter.
By the way, if you ever write a song about chocolate….