If you’re just tuning in to the musical career of Marshall Holland, this is a good time to be paying attention.
A native of Salinas, California, who grew up on the radio while traversing the state’s coastal agricultural lands on ride-alongs for his grandfather’s fertilizer business, Holland is a golden-state multi instrumentalist and songwriter who has just released his third album.
His new album, “Marshall Holland and the Etceteras” sees him stretching out stylistically and vocally, turning in everything from sing-along numbers (“Take Me,” and “Elise at Least”) to downbeat ruminations (“Fool Me,” “Goodbye September Days”) that are kindred in spirit to the esoteric back pages of the Simon & Garfunkel songbook. There are instrumentals here, too, that juxtapose his three-minute popsongs nicely, adding depth and providing subtle stage directions for each new chapter.
“On Marshall Holland’s new album, ‘And The Etceteras,’ the San Francisco-based indie singer-songwriter has written some of the most tuneful, irresistibly joyous pop songs you’re likely to hear this year. Holland combines the warm, melodic vocals and yearning of ’70s power pop with an immediacy that’s totally up-to-date.” —Echo Magazine
The characters that populate his tunes aren’t the shiny, happy people that seem to exist in too many of today’s indiepop compositions. Things don’t always work out for Holland’s protagonists. They find themselves suddenly lonely, they sleep on the streets, and they navigate uncertainty in a way that suggest their writer might know a thing or two about love, loss and real life.
Cutting his teeth in Sacramento in his early 20s before heading to the Bay Area, Holland found himself in constant demand as a backing musician, playing drums, bass, guitar—whatever was needed—in touring bands and local stalwarts. While it was great experience, he ended up fleeing the scene and setting up shop closer to the coast, where he had more time to cultivate his own songwriting process.
Finding himself with a little more downtime than he bargained for, he started making records on his own, playing all the instruments, designing artwork, and doing whatever it took to get his music heard. Instead of coming off as DIY art projects, Holland’s music never feels anything less than natural and self-realized with a pinch of opulence.