Who’d have thought some of the best modern Americana would come from a Brit?
Award-winning duo Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs is led by Golightly, a singer/songwriter named after the lead in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The Londoner has worked with acts as huge as The White Stripes. As she tells it, her virtuosity with traditional American music makes more sense than you might initially think.
“The classification itself is a really loose band,” Golightly said. “American music is really European and African music, if you think about it. What I do is not purist in any sense of the word, but it’s definitely traditional, and that’s probably what caught people’s attention. I do something in a very simple way and maintain the essence of what is considered to be early American music.”
She’s certainly had a long time to perfect the sound; the singer — now in her mid-40s — has gone down this route from the start.
“I’ve stuck with what I knew at the beginning and expanded upon that, I suppose, but I’m certainly not trying to break any new ground,” she said. “I’m still doing something doing really close to what I started out doing. I’m just a little more proficient at it after all this time.”
Finding a long-term partner — both musical and romantic — in native Texan Dave Drake only helped nail the Americana style even better. Having a shoulder to lean on helped even more.
“This is the first time I’ve sat down with someone else and written songs for an extended period, and that’s what I enjoy most about it,” Golightly said. “We’ve grown really adept at working with each other. It’s a true collaboration.”
That has led to five albums in four years — an impressive catalog for a relatively young project, but not as prolific as many think, she argued.
“If you wrote one song a day and chose one good one from that week, then took the four from that month and chose the best, over the course of a year, you’d have an album. It’s not that prolific,” Golightly said, laughing. “It’s just the way I work. I like instant gratification, then I can move on to the next thing. I don’t know how people take six years on an album … that sounds like torture.”
She and Drake live a quiet and simple life in Georgia, where the Southern comfort helps spark those creative juices come recording time — just how the adopted American likes it.
“We don’t spend all our time playing music,” Golightly said. “The combination of having just the right amount of time to do something else is the perfect formula for us.”