field report 020217

LOCATION: the Mothlight AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Lonnie Holley

On first hearing Lonnie a number of people I know have asked, essentially: "Is this a joke?" As an outsider artist, his music has doesn't fit any spectrum of context you want to apply to it. More than that, though, he's just so damn sincere. That makes for uncomfortable listening. We in modern America are ill-equipped to understand or accept someone who comes to us without a shred of ironic detachment.

If you're willing to take it at face value, and set aside aesthetic preconceptions, Lonnie Holley's work is utterly enchanting. Keyboards gurgle as he improvises his way through invocations halfway between rambling soul murmurs and spaced-out trance mantras. Though notably lacking in irony, he isn't without whimsy: welcoming us to his show with a short meditation, solely mulling the phrase "Good Evening." It acted as both a greeting and an invitation to enter his peculiar space. 

NOTES: Lonnie Holley; Villages; Christopher Paul Stelling