NonCOMM Recap: Holly Macve recalls classic American country with showcase of Golden Eagle

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Holly Macve | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

When Holly Macve begins singing, the sounds that come out recall golden country greats like Emmylou Harris and Patsy Cline; the songs on her 2017 Bella Union debut Golden Eagle evoke the classic Americana imagery of desolate, dusty roads and wide open skies. So it’s a bit of a surprise when, after opening number “Heartbreak Blues,” Macve thanks the audience in a British accent.

In fact, the country singer-songwriter is based in Brighton, UK and made her U.S. debut at SXSW just last year. In the time since she was spotted by NPR, whose music team brought her in for a soon-to-be-released Tiny Desk Concert according to Bob Boilen, who introduced her to the crowd gathered on the final night of NonCOMM.

Macve and her band moved from the three-part harmonies of “Heartbreak Blues” to the somber lullaby of “Shell,” a half-regretful song filled with wistful lyrics. Putting down the acoustic guitar and sitting at an electric piano, Macve began the equally somber waltz of “Timbuktu” backed by soft, reedy drums. The mid tempo drawl of the opening song came back in “No One Has the Answers,” a playful track that saw the band dig into a shuffling groove. The LP’s title track closed out the set, building from a solo piano opening to an expansive, open-skied finish warmed by the atmospheric tones of a guitar slide. The set was short and sweet but the hopeful message of true freedom in “Golden Eagle” will linger long after the final notes.

Setlist
Heartbreak Blues
Shell
Timbuktu
No One Has the Answers
Golden Eagle

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