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Preview: Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs to Release "Clippety Clop" on May 4

Artist: Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs
Title: Clippety Clop
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Label: Transdreamer Records
  • CD
  • Digital
A quick look at the song titles on Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs’ Clippety Clop reveals a clear, unifying theme: “I Ride an Old Paint,” “Mule Skinner,” “Pinto Pony.” But at its core, Golightly says that Clippety Clop is simply “what came out best from a batch of songs we wanted to do.”

London-born Golightly got her professional start as a member of Kent, England’s Thee Headcoatees, a garage rock combo formed as an opening act forBilly Childish and his band, Thee Headcoats. After the group’s run of albums and singles ended, Golightly continued a solo career that had already kicked off with her 1995 debut album The Good Things. She has also lent her talents to others' work, including vocals on the White Stripes track “It’s True That We Love One Another.” As a solo artist, Golightly has released nearly a dozen albums; Clippety Clop is the tenth long-player credited to Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs. It will hit the streets May 4, 2018 on Transdreamer Records via The Orchard/Sony.

But “& the Brokeoffs” is really just Holly's longtime partner Lawyer Dave. “Invariably, when you use the gear that we use — which is nothing fancy at all — it’s going to sound like what it sounds like,” Golightly says. And the Brokeoffs’ sound, a sort of Americana filtered through British punk, derives its distinctive flavor from the duo’s instrumental approach: Holly sings (and plays a bit of acoustic guitar) while Lawyer Dave accompanies her. “Dave's on guitar, playing drums with his feet, and singing,” Golightly explains. “I sprinkle it with magic dust.” The result has a welcome rawness that simultaneously recalls Sun Studio productions and iconoclastic Leeds, U.K. band Mekons.

Even with the primitive instrumental aesthetic and the equine theme, there’s plenty of variety within Clippety Clop. “The songs all start out the same way,” Golightly says with a laugh, “with one guitar and somebody singing. Everything’s just a song; it’s just how you treat it when you come to record it.” The studio she and Lawyer Dave use is convenient; it’s “20 feet from the door, in the shed in our garden,” she says. The pair lives on a large plot of land in rural Georgia, not far outside Athens.

Holly and Dave head out to that shed studio in spare moments when not busy with their other full-time endeavor, running a horse rescue farm. But the demands of work and life meant that the recording of Clippety Clop took place over the course of a couple of years. “We have a lot of animals to take care of,” Golightly says. “So one of us tends the animals at one end of the day, and one does them at the other end of the day. And then all there is beyond that is catching up with emails, eating and sleeping. So we didn’t take time off work to make this record; we just had to get at it as – and when – we could.”

And while the two have their differences when recording (“I would let things slip that Dave wouldn't find passable at all,” Golightly laughs), their methods complement each other. “Being a technically-minded and very proficient musician, Dave’s coming at it from a totally different place than I am. I learned three chords,” she says, “and that’s what I still know.”

The combination of Golightly and Lawyer Dave’s dissimilar musical backgrounds is another key to the distinctive character of Clippety Clop. “Dave and I don't share a lot of reference points musically,” Holly admits. “He doesn’t know half of what I know, and I don’t know half of what he knows. It’s a very odd combination, but it does work.” 
Beyond the lyrical theme of the new album, Holly Golightly’s work with horses intersects with her music in a serendipitous way. “I’ve ridden horses my entire life,” she explains. “I used to be a horse trainer. I did long distance riding: 25 miles as a matter of course, three to four times a week. And that’s a really long time to be out in the wilderness on your own, with only the occasional coyote for company.

“A horse is a herd animal,” Golightly continues. “So when you take them out of their safety zone, when it’s just me and a horse out there on a trail in the middle of nowhere, they get comfort from the sound of humming and singing.” Instead of sitting at home with a guitar and pen, Golightly discovered that new songs came forth during those moments alone with a horse.

Clippety Clop opens with “Mule Skinner,” an irreverent and plucky country blues that effectively sets the album’s mood. Holly and Dave often sound like a bigger band, extracting the most mileage out of the least number of instruments. Dave’s lean, distorted guitar lines juxtapose wonderfully with the down-home vibe. The duo’s ragged-but-right harmony (and/or unison) vocals convey the album’s spirit: equal parts punk-era England and timeless classic American country. And occasional slower numbers like “Carpet of Horses” evoke a Southern Gothic atmosphere.

Clippety Clop represents a return to music after what Golightly calls “a bit of a hiatus. But that was more from external circumstances than anything else,” she says. “We’re still having fun doing it.” In support of the new album, she and Lawyer Dave are looking forward to getting back on the trail and playing live dates across the U.S., with a European tour hopefully to follow. “I’m working on planning that now,” she says with a good-natured smile, “on my one day off in ten.”

Track List:
  • Mule Skinner
  • Two White Horses
  • Horses in the Mines
  • Pinto Pony
  • Black Horse Blues
  • Kill Grey Mule
  • Carpet of Horses
  • I Ride an Old Paint
  • Jimmy Mule
  • Stewball
  • Strawberry Roan
  • Mule Train