Holly Golightly Smith aka Holly Golightly!!…legends need no further introduction..
Portrait photo (private photo from Holly’s collection – all rights reserved)
..however I will spend a few more words on her accomplishments over a long and ever so lasting career beginning with the 4-piece all girl garage rock outfit Thee Headcoatees before moving into a long solo career of pre-rock electric country blues, folk and less frantic rock & roll. Holly hooked up with long time bandmate Lawyer Dave and formed the ongoing side-project Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs.
As goes for special mentioning, she recorded ‘It’s True That We Love One Another’ with The White Stripes for their album ‘Elephant’. Recorded and performed live with The Flaming Stars, The Greenhornes, Mudhoney and Rocket from the Crypt. Appearing with a couple of songs on the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’ movie ‘Broken Flowers’.
All of this and much more information about her career can be found in a lot of places, what is not easily found and known about her is what we’re about to present to you right here on sseennsseess !
A personal and intimate moment with the extraordinary and down to earth person Holly who just so happens to be much more than a musician…enjoy!!
Moving from London in England to Danielsville in Madison County, USA must have some clear cultural differences as a consequence?
Topographically, where I am now looks exactly the same as where I grew up, so it’s feels very familiar. Culturally speaking, it’s entirely different and, mostly, in a good way. People are polite, for starters. So much so that when people from back home visit me here, and we go out and about, they are completely taken aback by how hospitable and genuinely friendly people are. Where I live is rural, about 30 minutes from Athens, so I have the option of going and doing something if I want, but I don’t go in to town very often. I love it here. It’s interesting that the city/country living thing is completely opposite of back home. If you want to live in the country in England, you have to be wealthy. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to live where I grew up, for sure. Here, you can be poor and live in the country. I think I prefer that way around.
What impact did your move have on your music?
None really. I just do the thing that I do. Lots of what I do has been influenced by southern American music, and it has always been that way, so there are not any notable changes. Living here is like living anywhere. Once you close your door, it’s your house. I could be anywhere and my stuff would probably not vary too far from it has been to date.
Climate is perhaps a tad better in Georgia, how does that impact you as a person and as a musician?
It agrees with me, not having a very long winter. I have lots of old injuries, some of which involve pins and plates, and the damp of England really aggravated aches and pains. So I do less limping here, I suppose. I enjoy that growing food is pretty easy, since everything wants to grow wild in this climate… It’s sub-tropical (supposedly) and it’s a jungle a lot of the time… And there are seasons, which I think are important to be part of. I don’t think I could enjoy living anywhere that there weren’t distinct seasons. I think the cycle of things dying off and then springing back to life affects people more than most realize.
Asking a musician to imagine a life without music is rather unholy but let’s say in a hypothetical world that you gave up the idea of becoming a musician, you dropped playing and singing before almost having started. Live yourself into this scenery and tell us how your life would have evolved, what you would have been doing these past 20/25 years?
I’d have done exactly the same things that I’ve done, just without music being one of those things. I am involved with horses and I always have been, in some capacity or another. There have been points where I’ve lived in London for a length of time, which I might not have done, but for music being a factor. I expect I would have followed a horse-related career path professionally, had I not got involved in playing. I know that I wouldn’t have traveled half as much, of course, although the equestrian pursuits have taken me all over the world…just not as often or to as many far flung places. Through all the touring and traveling, I’ve acquired an extended family of sorts, from all over the place, that I’m truly thankful for every day.
Oh, also, I was massively into dancing, long before I started playing music, so I’d have probably managed to fit a lot more dancing in too.
20 years, 20 albums, 20 tours…numbers are clearly not accurate but it has a nice flow to it and still supports this question. Being creative, leaving a footprint in the music history, travelling the world…is there something you would like to obtain in life that you haven’t obtained yet?
I honestly can’t think of anything I feel I am lacking, or desperately need to have, as far as obtaining things goes. I’m pretty satisfied with my lot in life. I work really hard to do the things I do, and I’ve been really lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had. So this is this. To continue to be content with how things are, I suppose, is a sensible goal in life.
A long life as a musician, you must have experienced some very special moments, please share some of the most memorable and for you heartfelt moments during your career?
Three generations of the same family coming along to a show years ago. That made me feel pretty special at the time. To discover that my stuff is relevant to a grandma, a mom and a daughter, who had enjoyed my records together and had come out to the gig together. I think that really sticks as being a special moment.
Are you grateful for the life you have had in general up until now?
Very much so.
Name something you regret having done or not having done in the past?
I regret back-chatting my grandparents more than anything else.
Were you ever a troublemaker during your childhood?
A memorable event during your childhood?
Getting a guitar for Christmas.
Who has been the most special person to you up until today?
Everyone I consider a friend, and my whole family. I couldn’t say that any one person is the most special…everyone is a different kind of special.
Most beautiful place you have ever seen?
My own kitchen, after being away from home for a while. I hate not being able to cook while I’m on tour…it’s the worse thing about going away.
Holly picking cherries (private photo from Holly’s collection – all rights reserved)
The classic question, who and/or what introduced you to rock’n’roll?
So many people along the way. My parents and their friends, John Peel on the radio, etc.
Ever taken singing classes or are you a natural talent?
I went to see a singing coach one time only. I had been touring a lot with Thee Headcoatees, had been singing with Rocket From The Crypt, and other projects that were quite a ruckus… I’d lost my voice a few times on tour and thought I might try to work out a way of that not happening as much. The singing coach asked to hear what sort of thing I sang and I played her a record. She told me that I’d probably end up sounding really different, if I took lessons, and said it’d be a case of choosing between sounding like me, or training to be pitch perfect. She talked me out of it, basically.
Ever done or attempted to do any sports?
I hate any sport that doesn’t involve a horse.
Are you a relatively good housewife or the nearly burning down the kitchen type?
I run a very tight ship.
In case the answer above is “Yes, I’m the perfect housewife” what would be your best dish creation?
I make all sorts of things…I love cooking. Currently I’m really into making bread. That was my new year’s resolution this year…to not buy any bread.
If you were to ride your horse into the prairie somewhere in or around Danielsville, not sure there is one but let’s pretend that there is and the horse suddenly had it with you and left you in the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere. What would be your first thought?…and what would be the first thing you would scream out loud to the world and finally how would you get home?
My first thought would be what an utterly shitty job I’d done of training my horse. I wouldn’t scream, I don’t think. I’d just be really pissed off and get to walking. It’s not so far off what has actually happened to me before, so I can picture it fairly well.
Holly and her horse Zak (private photo from Holly’s collection – all rights reserved)
Are you a survivor?
I don’t think of myself as a survivor but anyone who knows me…I mean really knows me…would refute that instantly. I just get along.
Are you moody or mainly a positive person?
I don’t think I’m moody or overly positive. I’m a realist I guess. Things get me down the same as anyone else, of course. I can sulk with the best of them.
Are you mellow?
Not at all.
Do you cry to tragic scenes in a movie?
I’m not sure what is considered classically tragic is what makes me cry. I don’t like overdone scenes that are engineered to make people weep usually but I do cry at movies, yes indeed.
Best movie you’ve ever seen?
There are far too many to pick one. The Rebel is up there on the list.
Is sharing a house or, in your case, a farm with you easy?…are you easy to live with?
Probably not. I’m a stickler for some things, especially when it comes to animals and animal husbandry. I am not a tidy person by any means, but I can’t bear other people being messy and I’m really picky about the kitchen being kept clean and tidy. Which is only because I like cooking so much and it’s irritating to have to deal with cleaning up stuff in a kitchen before you cook…it takes a lot of the joy out of doing it.
Holly’s farm and animals (private photo from Holly’s collection – all rights reserved)
The dogs are Fife (black and white Border Collie who came from the UK with me, when I moved over to GA) and Tilly (the little terrier/beagle mutt) who came as part of a rescue deal, with a horse that I’d brought home from the Mexican Rodeo circuit. I spent time and money getting him healthy and re-homed him when he was in better shape. Tilly stayed, of course! At any given time, in addition to the permanent equine residents here, there are always horses that are just passing through on their way to (hopefully) a better beginning up ahead. That’s what I actually do 🙂
For all you know, what would be your best and worst feature according to the person living with you?
I’m guessing here, as I’ve no clue really. Maybe the best thing would be that I am organized and that would probably be the worst thing about living with me too.
Biggest crisis you’ve had in life till date?
There have been many. I couldn’t say one crisis was much worse than another really, since at the time they’re always the worse thing that’s ever happened.
Are you close to your family?
Not in terms of how often we see each other and that’s always been the case but we are close in the sense that we know each other well and accept each other as were are…much more than many families, I’ve noticed over the years.
Ever written politically motivated lyrics?
Cheekiest lyrics ever written?
Ha! There are far too many of those…
If you were to write a short poem about your own life?
Prospects didn’t look good but it worked out OK.
For more info: Holly Golightly
Label info: Damaged Goods and Transdreamer