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Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues by Sony Holland

Vocalist Sony Holland hails originally from Minnesota before family travels took her to Rhode Island and North Dakota. After one year of studies at Concordia College, she moved on to Nashville with a stop in Minneapolis along the way. After marrying songwriter Jerry Holland, the two moved to San Francisco where they currently live.

The best way to describe Holland is as throw-back singer; with a smooth and velvety voice, Holland reminds one of Peggy Lee and June Christy during their early years. Most will associate Holland’s subtlely sexy stylings as coming from the Diana Krall school of modern torch singing, but Holland’s style is more upfront in the manner of the great singers of the 1940s and 50s. With just a touch of Broadway in her delivery, Holland caresses lyrics instead of ramming them down your throat as so many young singers do. Holland understands that purity of tone is much more impressive than strength of will.

While the best work Holland does on the disc are on tunes composed by her husband, her reading of the Roberta Flack associated "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and Jobim’s "Meditation" are the best tunes to use as examples of her prowess. On both, the melodies linger on sustained notes which Holland fills with a sweet timbre that resonates the open vowel sounds perfectly. To make the total effect even more sweet she drags the rhythms expertly; if the band had been mixed a little more up-front it would be more obvious how she settles herself into the backing band as if she was one of the instrumentalists, and isn’t that the best compliment one can give a vocalist.

When it comes to her interpretations of her husband’s music, the feeling is true, genuine and, like the kids used to say, real. There is just enough heartbreak in "Act Like You’re In Love With Me" to make the song believable and "Million Dollar Dreams" has its own rhythmic way about it that Holland digs into with élan and elegance. Holland has the tools, here’s hoping she can get some well-deserved national attention.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Sony Holland
  • CD Title: Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Van Ness
  • Rating: Four Stars
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