She played two songs she's recently written, "My Dinah" and "Jubilee." I admit to preferring the former at first, it was in response to an assignment to create a song from a newspaper article. Holly saw this article about camel breeding in Saudi Arabia and wrote a song about it. Something about that in itself strikes me as incredibly lovely and poignantly quirky. I love the point of view she takes, the intensity with which she treats her subject, the wonderful images (deserts in bloom, camels with long neck and lashes, solitary trails...), and not least the sultry tone the whole song takes.
However, upon further listening I think the long-term favorite of the evening will be "Jubilee." I am already eyeing this song for my Lent09 CD to point to God's faithfulness when despair seems inevitable. I love this song on its own merits, not just because I like Holly's sensibilities; the hopelessness transformed into a vision of freedom. Again Holly's strength as a writer shines through with the strong internal rhymes while still painting a vivid picture of withering fruit trees and dusty forlorn faces. "Jubilee" manages to be soulful, mournful, soothing, and redemptive all at once.
I wish you could know Holly so that her unassuming and impish personality could cause you to wonder at her versatility and genuine artistry as a songwriter. Proud to call her a friend. :)