by Hannah Liz
After hearing The Hollows perform live at the Brooklyn Country Fair, it was a delight to take home their CD, Belong to the Land. They are an engaging band to see live, with great stage presence, and this album is a great summer weekend soundtrack.
The album’s first track, “Basilica,” has beautifully haunting string play between the guitars, banjo, and mandolins; it’s brilliantly executed and feels reminiscent of the Garcia/Grisman recordings. It’s a great hook to the album, and sets you up to want more.
“Josephine” is light-hearted and catchy, with sweet harmonies, while “Poor Eyes” is the perfect anthem for a reflective mood. The delivery is chillingly heartrending, with the vocals recounting how “[I] took the ghost train to the other side of town; think I need a pick me up, because I am falling down.” “Sticks and Stones” is a rousing song, with lyrics featuring the phrase from which the CD takes its name. There is an outstanding moment in the song where the vocalists sing in a round with only light accompaniment– “Sticks and stones, broken bones, an old tree groans and an old man moans… It’s a long line to tow, but the moon and sun around the run, it’s a smoking gun it’s so much fun, it’s a never ending show.”
The lyrics overall are evocative, and were redolent of something familiar that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. That, coupled with beautiful harmonies and amazing instrumentals, adds up to an album that is a joy to listen to.