My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Jolie Holliday – ‘Lucky Enough’

Dallas-born Jolie Holliday is a new discovery for me, although this is apparently her second release. Her soprano voice has a clarity of tone which is really lovely, and her approach is solidly country with at times folk overtones. Co-produced by the artist herself with Rob Matson and Hank Singer (the latter playing fiddle and mandolin), this album is a delight. The material is all pretty good, mostly coming from established country songwriters.

Opening track ‘I’m Coming Home To You’ (written by Stephanie Smith and Jeff Stevens) has a pretty, folky feel about longing for reunion with a loved one after time away. This promising start is followed by one of my favorite tracks, Marla Cannon and Karyn Rochelle’s ‘Better Off’. This is a great ballad advising a friend (or herself?) not to beg her man not to leave, as his departure will leave her better off in the long run:

So go on and get his suitcase
And help him pack it up
Girl, you ain’t losin’ nothing
You don’t need his kind of love

My absolute favourite track is ‘I’ll Try Anything’, the candid confession of a woman desperate to kill the pain of a broken heart by any means possible:

I can’t stand the smell of smoke
But I bought myself a pack
Bummed a light from a stranger
Nearly choked on my first drag
I hate the taste of whiskey
And this bar room ain’t my style
But I’ll try anything
Not to hurt for a while

Jolie’s vocals are particularly impressive on this big ballad, belting out the big notes without oversinging, and holding back when necessary, The song was a single for its co-writer Amber Dotson a few years ago but I prefer the purity of Jolie’s voice on this song to Amber’s more jaded interpretation, which failed to reach the top 40, although both versions are worth hearing.

The following song, the traditional sounding ‘No Thanks’, written by Wynn Varble and Dale Dodson, is almost as good. Here the protagonist politely rejects a man trying to pick her up in a bar, with the chorus responding first to his offer of a drink and then to his suggestion that she looks in need of a man:

No thanks, I just had one
And I swore that one
Would be my last one
It sounds inviting but I’m all done
No thanks, I just had one

‘Let Me Love You’ is a sad piano-led ballad set to a pretty tune and written by Chuck Jones and Al Anderson. A woman who can’t seem to help losing in love by picking the wrong men, asking herself in despair,

Seems all I ever do is hurt me
Heartache, he’s my only friend
It happens to me every time
I just can’t win for losing’
You were just the means to an end
Even fools learn from mistakes they make
But the past it seems is always lost on me

Why’d I ever let me love you this way?

This is another effective track with a fine vocal.

The most contemporary-sounding track (with prominent electric guitar), is the one song Jolie co-wrote (with Ty ‘Cash’ Thompson), ‘Driving To Hollywood’. This is a pretty good song about growing up and leaving home and a childhood friend who might have been more, but:

Now it’s too late to wait another day
He should have said something if he wanted me to stay

The ballad ‘What We Gonna Do About It’, written by Philip White, Rodger Morris and Roger Murrah, is another with contemporary influences as Jolie offers some advice to a fellow loser in love and potential love interest:

Don’t waste your time on who’s to blame
That’s just addin’ to the pain
When you’re down the only shame
Is giving up

In the punchy ‘Hard To Be A Lady’, the protagonist has been brought up by her mother to be a “good girl” but finds it hard to keep living up to her mother’s standards “with a man like you”. This song is nice but a little predictable and the passion isn’t quite unbridled enough to convince. Better suited to Jolie’s voice is ‘I Don’t Need Champagne’, a rejection of her boyfriend’s offer of expensive roses and five-star dinners in favor of midnight walks and a sincere declaration of love.

The album closes with the charming title track, a brightly optimistic and potentially very commercial number about being “lucky enough to be in love”, written by Bill Anderson and Victoria Banks:

The odds were slim and they were stacked against me
If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t’a had any
But on the day I met him he turned my world around
My losing streak was over cause I’m a winner now

If you’re lucky enough to be in love
You’re playing a game that you’ve already won
So don’t waste your time wishing on stars above
If you’re lucky enough to be in love
You’re lucky enough

Jolie has an excellent voice which deserves a wider audience, and this is a very enjoyable record with a good selection of material, which I warmly recommend.

3 responses to “Album Review: Jolie Holliday – ‘Lucky Enough’

  1. Bizhaku June 3, 2010 at 7:09 am

    nice review bro hihihi nyam 😀

  2. bob June 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Good review. I listened to the entire album on her website and she sounds very good. Think I’ll add this cd to my amazon wish list for father’s day.

  3. Pingback: Some hidden treasures of 2010 « My Kind Of Country

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