Holly Golightly revels in vintage sounds

CorrespondentSeptember 28, 2012 

  • PREVIEW Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs The duo returns to Plaza Midwood for Country Tuesday. WHEN: 10 p.m. Tuesday. WHERE: Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. ADMISSION: Free. DETAILS: 704-333-9799; www.snugrock.com.

Since the Beatles broke stateside in 1964, Americans have romanticized the UK much in the same way musicians from overseas ponder the mystique of the United States. While veteran British singer-songwriter and band leader Holly Golightly’s current duo with Texan musician Lawyer Dave often sounds deeply rooted in ’50s and ’60s rhythm & blues, country-western, folk and rock n’ roll, she says her move to a farm outside Athens, Georgia, had nothing to do with her interest in the vintage sounds of the South.

“I could just as easily be in New Zealand. We wanted land, and a house came up that we can afford,” says Golightly, who begins the upcoming tour for the new album, “Sunday Run Over Me,” at Snug Harbor on Tuesday. She and Lawyer Dave looked at land in Tennessee and Kentucky as well. “It looks like where I grew up.”

Golightly’s career began as part of the girl group Thee Headcoatees (a sister band to her then boyfriend’s group Thee Headcoats). Golightly, now in her 40s, launched a solo career in 1995 with a sound that blended modern underground pop and rock with a classic, vintage sound, rockabilly, and retro flair. She traces her musical roots to dancing in clubs that played underground soul music of the ’50s and ’60s.

“I really liked dancing, and I acquired a very narrow and exclusive taste,” she says. “But I was unusual in that I was a punk rocker that was interested in soul music. ... I’d go see punk-rock bands doing versions of songs that bands had done in the ’60s that turned out to be some early ’50s rocking blues hits.”

Golightly introduces many of those obscure old songs to her audience.

“They’re more obscure because there isn’t that kind of club going on here,” she says of northern soul, which first grew in popularity in northern England.

For “Sunday Run Over Me,” she and Lawyer Dave reverse the lyrics of the 1960 song “We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus (and a Lot Less Rock and Roll),” written by Wayne Raney.

“We were watching the Republican primaries. That’s when we came up with that one. It was kind of a joke. It makes it more up-to-date,” she laughs.

The prolific duo, who have released five albums – separate from Golightly’s solo releases – find rural life economical for a rock ’n’ roll band.

“What most bands do is they want to go to London or L.A. or New York … be vital and in the thick of it all. What they should do is live somewhere really cheap and dedicate a lot of time to crafting it.”

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