My Inspiration: Holly Rees – the lost songs EP | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle’ indie songwriter Holly Rees releases, the lost songs, an acoustic EP made in isolation during lockdown that is now been given a surprise release as an early Christmas gift. It’s an intimate and tender offering that evokes a reflective ambience and offers fans a different side to Holly before she rejoins her band to heads into the noise, energy and excitement of 2022.

Here, Holly tells more about what inspired the EP…

This EP started out as a bit of a lockdown project – I had to shield for quite a bit of the past two pandemic  years, which meant I couldn’t work on our full band stuff, but instead gave me time to pick up some of the  sad, soft, solo acoustic songs that had fallen down the gaps over the past few years. These are songs that I really love but never really thought I’d share. Originally I had planned to make this EP as a patreon exclusive, but my amazing patreon supporters all encouraged me to share it publicly too, so here we are. I liked the idea of sharing these songs now, at the end of the year, without a big loud  release campaign or pre-save push or any of the usual stuff we all have to do to try and survive as DIY  independent artists, and instead share them just as a quiet wintery gift before drawing a line under the past couple of difficult years and moving forward into 2022, where I have so many full band plans and nonsense I’m excited for. 

Partly because this EP was born in isolation, I’ve done everything for this record myself, which is something  I’ve never done before. I wrote, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered everything, even did the artwork  myself. I’m really proud of that, and I worked really hard on it, so I hope you enjoy it. I really want this record  to wrap you up and carry you through the winter like a soft hug, like all the best chill acoustic tracks do.  See  you on the other side. 

This song is the oldest on the EP – I wrote this at the start of 2019, I’d just arrived in Ontario to start  preparing for my Canadian tour. There was snow everywhere, it was beautiful and cold and so different, a real adventure. I somehow managed to borrow a guitar from somewhere, and a lush guitar shop in Hamilton  let me use their back room to practice for free (if you ever find yourself in Hamilton, Ontario, go check out  Picks and Sticks, they’re lush). This is a song about homesickness really, a song about my love for the North  East, and about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone; 

“my tears I threw with baited breath into the Tyne and,  I guess it’s true this Magpie city’s my Carolina” (A little homage to James Taylor’s classic ‘Carolina in My Mind’) 

This is another song I wrote during my Canadian tour. A classic heartbreak tune really, but with a little twist  in that it’s written to a place (Victoria on Vancouver Island) instead of a person. With a lot of my songs I like  to play with contradictions – in ‘Getting By’ it’s playing with the idea of how you can be happy and sad at the  same time, and in victoria there’s a bit of that too. “How can I be so miserable when everything is so  

beautiful?” The outro to that song I added much later, in the production process, which isn’t something I  usually do but I think the freedom of just working on it all on my own, without any real deadline, gave me  that freedom to just try things out. 

i just want you 
When I started recording and producing this EP, I was listening to a lot of Donovan Woods (who really  influenced this whole EP I think) and I just really wanted to write a soft, sad little love song reminiscent of his  ‘Portland, Maine’ or ‘I Ain’t Ever Loved No One’, and that’s what I tried to do with this song. It’s about the age old idea of wanting someone who probably doesn’t want you back. One of the things I love most in the  writing of my favourite lyricists is when they can write about something so universal and make it feel  personal to you, so that’s what I tried to do here. 

This is such a weird little song, and I’m still not really sure what made me dust this one off and bring it out.  It’s another one I wrote on tour in 2019, and played at a few shows, and a few times it really connected with  people, so that’s probably why it’s stuck around. When you’re on tour you’re sort of constantly just passing  through, and I guess that’s what this song is about – the potential in strangers you’ll never talk to and the  worlds they live in that you’ll never really know that you just briefly glimpse in passing.  

glad it’s you 
This is the most recent song of the bunch, I only wrote this a few months ago. It’s pretty stripped back, even  by the standards of this already stripped back EP, but I wanted this one to just be about the words and the  guitar part, I wanted it to feel like the intimacy of being in a room listening to the song live. I’d been thinking  a lot about classic singer-songwriters and the sixties and real folky story-telling songs, and just sitting down  with a guitar and writing. This was one of those songs that just fall out of you, and ends the EP on what I hope is a warm note, an open heart ready for love.

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