Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Holly Miranda has a new album dropping this week, on February 23. Mutual Horse (on Dangerbird Records), her first release since 2015, brings a fresh batch of songs showcasing her distinctive songwriting, voice and guitar playing. Miranda is touring and will be playing her album release party in Greenpoint on March 22nd at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell Street). Coincidentally, the venue is closing its doors in a few months, so it’ll be an opportunity to hear her voice in a truly unique place. The lead single from Mutual Horse, “Exquisite,” features Kyp Malone (of TV On The Radio), and it has a super cool animated video (above). A preview of the track “Golden Spiral” is up on SoundCloud.
This is Miranda’s fourth full-length album and one that features a new direction through the many collaborations that contributed to the sound and feel of this record. Her collaborators on Mutual Horse include Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Josh Werner (Dr. John, Lee Scratch Perry), Jared Samuel (Yoko Ono), Jim Kirby Fairchild (Grandaddy, Modest Mouse), Maria Eisen (Underground System), and Matthew Morgan (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse).
Holly Miranda grew up in both Detroit and Nashville and soaked up musical influence from these cities. As a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer, she has toured with legends Lou Reed, Lesley Gore and Karen O. Her style and songwriting spans many different rock n roll genres so there’s something for everyone in which to take delight with her music.
GP: What do you love about this new album?
HM: There is a track on the record called “Gina”—right before we started mixing I came across a cassette tape with “Tennessee” scribbled on one side. It was my parents and my sisters driving from Michigan to Tennessee in 1981 for Christmas at my grandparents farm, which would be the trip I was conceived during. My mother, at the point when I found the tape, had been fighting a degenerative brain disease for about 6 years and hadn’t been able to speak, let alone sing, for a while. So hearing her voice again and hearing her sing, it was such a beautiful moment for me. I wanted to immortalize that and I’m so happy I did. She passed on January 24th and this record is for her.
GP: How will the album and its songs be adapted for the stage?
HM: There is a lot going on in this record, it would be totally impossible for me to replicate this live in a tour, well not impossible, but it would cost a lot more than I can afford. So I’ve decided to strip the songs down to their cores and reinterpret them as a trio. For the NYC and LA shows we will have some special guests joining us, but for everything else the lineup will be bari-sax, drums and me. It’ll be good.
GP: What message do you hope to convey to your audience when performing?
HM: Acceptance. Inclusiveness. Empathy. Freedom.
GP: How does living in Brooklyn impact your music-making?
HM: I think “cutting my teeth” musically in Brooklyn in the late 90’s and early 2000’s made for a lot of really healthy competitiveness. Everyone was creating and everyone was amazing and I really had to dig deep and find my unique voice if I wanted to make a dent. Really, I’m still trying to do that.
Outside of musical influence, I think just living in New York so long has taught me so much about community, living there through 9/11 and Sandy, and seeing strangers come together to help each other through, I would say that has had a massive impact on how I live my life. Which, in turn, has vastly affected my music-making.
GP: Any inspiring stories you’d like to share from your collaborating with the many guest artists on this album?
HM: I wrote about 5 songs off this record with my friend Jim “Kirby” Fairchild (of Modest Mouse and Grandaddy), it was something we have been talking about doing for a few years. I first met Kirby’s wife, artist Natasha Wheat, on a plane from NYC to LA, only to realize we had met on a train 2 weeks before. The next year or two, was a series of serendipitous moments with big red glaring arrows pointing towards this collaboration. I also met them right as my mom was starting to get really sick, both Kirby and Natasha had mothers with neurological diseases. It was such a huge blessing to have these friends who knew what I was about to go through and giving me advice and love. All of our mothers have since passed on, and I think “Let her go” is the song that Kirby and I wrote together that will forever choke me up.
GP: What’s next for you creatively?
HM: I’d like to produce other people’s records. I’d like to finish this musical I have been working on for a few years. I’d like to score a film. I’d like to write more things that aren’t music related. There are a lot of things I’d like to do, but no one is promised tomorrow, so we’ll have to wait and see what I do with the time I’ve given.
Holly Miranda plays at the Park Church Co-op (129 Russell St.) on March 22, 2018. Get tickets here.