Happy Birthday Drummer Boy

IMG_8075Austin, TX was the place to be late May¬†as we celebrated our Drummer Boy’s 13th birthday. It was a celebration to be sure with all the fixings but most importantly awesome community. There are a number of¬†precious people and families in Austin, TX who really care for us when we roll through. Many of them¬†have children who love our son and we couldn’t have asked for a better stop to celebrate his life.

IMG_8047The celebration kicked off the night before the big day at our Persian friend Mehrdad’s home. We met Mehrdad last spring at a house concert that we performed and he kept in touch with us, often times sending little notes of encouragement. When we returned this time, we were so excited to see him and when he found out it was our son’s 13th birthday he was even more excited. He was so happy that he invited us to his home for a special Persian meal and to meet many in his community. The food was amazing and the conversation was even more fantastic as¬†different folks shared their stories. We learned about the history and traditions of their Bah√°’√≠ faith,¬†as well as, the persecution they faced in their homeland of Iran. They shared their journeys of coming to the US and gratitude¬†for being able to live and worship peacefully now.

Dony Wynn, Torchys Tacos, The HollandsThe next day, the BIG DAY, was full of adventure, starting¬†off at one of our favorite Austin taco stands, Torchy’s Tacos¬†where we met our friend Dony Wynn, who last year spent time mentoring our son, encouraging and sharing musical talents.

We fell in love with this ol’ fella after hearing his amazing story growing up in New Orleans, his time as a professional drummer in the rock and roll world, working out the meaning of life as a hermit and now finding passion in the visual arts.

From there we went to a matinée and saw the action packed Spider Man 2 and of course, enjoyed movie theater popcorn.

IMG_8093We concluded our festivities at¬†Zilker Metropolitan Park, which is situated near downtown Austin. It’s a fantastic park and the home to Barton Springs watering hole.

With temps of 90 degrees we were ready to cool off in the fresh spring water. The kids went to the free side of the park and found a large tree along the bank to climb on and jump into the water.

They frolicked for about two hours and then rallied for Texas BBQ from Green Mesquite BBQ, which was just a mile down the road from the park. It was awesome! We ordered take out including a variety of meats for about $60 and everyone brought a salad/drinks to share.

The evening wound down with a red velvet cake that the Malik family made, at our sons request and one last swim. Honestly, we could never have pulled off such a fantastic birthday without our friends, Mehrdad, Dony, The Maliks, The Heikkilas and the Newells. So thankful for community!! In the end, our Drummer Boy felt loved and appreciated. This will be one to remember!

Austin, TX

IMG_8113On a side note: A few months ago we asked our little Drummer Boy, what would you like for your birthday and he responded confidently and quickly, “a Bob Marley CD and a bag of chips.” What? He totally stopped us in our tracks and we all just looked at him dumbfounded. First off, we were totally expecting some expensive video game request and secondly, he had never shown interest in Reggae or anything acoustic before. I mean, he plays in our Folky/Americana acoustic based band but has always drifted towards heavier sounds. For the first time, our little dub step, metal core son was speaking our language! Who knows how and when kids pick stuff us, but the request totally cracked us up and we couldn’t resist.

 

 

 

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Over Land And Leas

http://thehollands.bandcamp.com/album/over-land-and-leas
http://thehollands.bandcamp.com/album/over-land-and-leas

We are excited to announce that “Over Land and Leas” is available for purchase.

Get your download or hard copy today!

This album gives narrative shape to the pilgrimage through the storms, blue skies, daily work, and dreams of our common lives.

Featuring songs like Washerman’s Field, a riotous song with a strong word of warning to those consumed with power and war. Written in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Traveling Man is a rowdy composition empathizing with those who have no place to call home. Lanie Done Did, is a murder balled, which chronicles the journey of a young prostitute. The Amaryllis is a precious tale that laments a mothers death and rejoice the birth of a daughter.  Lillian’s Daydream is a beautiful guitar piece that preludes the title track. Over Land and Leas is a old Scottish folk tale sung with a haunting remembrance of times gone by.

Old Man’s Town makes an appearance on this album (first debuting on Ashes To Beauty in 2011) Originally sung as more of a ballad, this new version offers more of the high energy The Hollands! share during their live performance. Haiti was written on an airplane from Australia to the US. Using words from a crossword puzzle as inspiration, this dramatic song ends up being a harking call to help those in desperate situations. Russian Lullaby is an evocative song that tells the tale of those who suffer at the hands of war.  The Great Lake Plains is a rollicking song, written in a Dolly Parton vane and pays homage to Jana’s family history and involvement in the underworld back in the 1920-30’s. Rain was written after a personal bout with cancer and is a tender cry for healing.

The Album ends with the traditional, Wayfaring Stranger, composed and performed Holland style, displaying beautiful harmonies, mouth harp, banjo, mandolin and Craig’s brawny rhythms.

All lyrics were written by Jana Holland, except Lanie Done Did and Lillian’s Daydream, written by Graciana Holland.

Recorded & Engineered by David Fuller at Sun Room Studios in Portland OR

Produced by David Fuller and The Hollands!

Art and Design by Joel Pritchard

The Hollands! are Jana Holland, Craig Holland, Graciana Holland and Banjo Holland.

This album includes the creative contributions of David Fuller, David Baumgartner, Joby Morey, Tom Cameron, Joh Behr and Dony Wynn.

Copyright The Hollands! All rights reserved Dutchy Love Records

South Texas, The Land of Milk and Honey

20130325-144311.jpgAfter a few months in the browns and reds of the desert, the lush greens, slight humidity and rolling hills of Austin were a welcomed sight. Our time in Austin was eclectic with opportunities to be in community with our hosts, the Newell family and friends, connecting with new friends, sharing music, sharing sacred space, lending a helping hand with projects and enjoying some quality family activity, including paddle boarding, kayaking, dining out and a little bit of shopping.

20130325-144300.jpgOur first weekend we enjoyed the sounds and sights of SxSW, which was significant in and of itself. However, our week with the Newells was when all of the magic happened. Our favorite restaurant was Torchie’s Taco’s! Pete, Lori and their three darlings took us there after church our first Sunday in town and we fell in love. Torchie’s started out as a food truck and now has about four locations throughout the city. Through out the week we made it to three of the locations. ūüôā Monday evening we shared our first BBQ on the grill with them. I made my Grandma’s potato salad, the sun was warm and there was a cool breeze. The kids had fun running and jumping on the trampoline, listening to music and taking a load off.

Tuesday we helped Lori set up the house for a house concert. They invited all sorts of friends and neighbors and acquaintances. The energy was high and all of their guests made the evening so lovely.

Wed. it was 91 degrees and we decided to hit the water. We went paddle boating and kayaking down on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake which is part of the Colorado River. It’s calm, pristine and offered us relief from the heat. We floated for about an hour, watching the University of Texas rowing team practice along side us.

Later that evening, we all meet the Newell’s at Rudy’s BBQ for a Texas favorite. I’ve seen Rudy’s sauce in the grocery story but it was fun to actually be eating where it was created. And man, is it good!

Jesse and Janae
Jesse and Janae

The night didn’t end there, after dinner we trekked about a half hour southwest to Dripping Springs, TX to visit with the Heikkila’s who we had met through the Newell’s. Jesse, Janae and their four children live on a beautiful property with his Sister and her family. The Heikkila’s moved to Austin a few years back and have been building a “Tiny House”¬†on the property. We entered their warm home with delight and amazement. We were excited to hear about their journey in marriage, family and building this fun home. Janae made the most amazing candied nuts to top ice cream sunday’s and Jesse and Craig talked shop (building). ¬†We love meeting kinfolk along our way, especially those who are taking risks and swimming upstream.¬†It was so encouraging to be with them.

20130325-144832.jpgThursday was our last day in Austin and it was equally as delightful as the days that ran before it. I met a woman named Ruby James. We had actually met at Steel Bridge songfest in Sturgeon Bay, WI the summer prior. She had approached us after we played our set and thanked us for waking her up gently. Later that summer, we saw her again at another venue and had an opportunity to chat a bit more. There was something about her bright spirit and so when we arrived in Austin and I saw she was living here, I thought it would be great to see her again. There was an ease when we chatted on the phone and through the course of our conversation I shared some of the struggles we were having with our son. His transition from adolescents into manhood were taking a toll on us as parents and her listening ear was kind. She had an idea, a way to maybe encourage our son and lined up an opportunity for him to meet a fella named Dony Wynn. Dony is a world-class drummer and has worked with folks like Robert Plant, Patti Griffin and Robert Palmer. He met us at his front door with a bright smile and invited us into his space. There were percussion instruments everywhere and Dony was open and inviting, engaging our son in conversation and sharing his story. It was an honor to meet him and I’m sure will be an important part of our son’s story down the line.

20130325-144740.jpgLater that night we were invited to share in sacred space at a Bahai’ New Years celebration. We met Rose, our host, at the Newell house concert a few days prior and she gave us a little overview of her vision to bring together community in her neighborhood and her efforts to host weekly multi-faith gathering. This week they were focusing on music. We shared with her a potential offering/workshop we call “sound scape” which is an exercise that allows even the laymen and opportunity to be creative. She loved the idea and so we arrived, ¬†shared a few “Hollands!” songs and then had folks break into two groups. Because the gathering was meant to have a spiritual bent we used sacred passage from the bible as the inspiration and each group began to create a sound track that would be played behind the reading of the passage.

Craig’s group choose John 1:1-22, “In the beginning was the Word,¬†and the Word was with God,¬†and the Word was God.¬†¬†He was with God in the beginning.¬†¬†Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.¬†¬†In him was life,¬†and that life was the light¬†of all mankind.¬†¬†The light shines in the darkness,¬†and the darkness has not overcome¬†it…” My group choose Revelations 22:1-5, ¬†“Then the angel showed me the river¬†of the water of life,¬†as clear as crystal,¬†flowing¬†from the throne of God and of the Lamb¬†¬†down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life,¬†bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.¬†No longer will there be any curse.¬†The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.¬†¬†They will see his face,¬†and his name will be on their foreheads.¬†¬†There will be no more night.¬†They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.¬†And they will reign for ever and ever.”¬†Each group entered into the exercise wholeheartedly and the creative interpretations that they each offered was so inspiring. We topped of the night with Persian Tea and lots of hugs and well wishes.

20130325-144823.jpgFriday morning before we set sail we invited Dony and Ruby over for farewell scones. And then we said goodbye to the Newells!

There is such a richness in this life that we lead. Joy is full, pain is real and we accept it all, knowing there is hope and we are not alone. Our week in Austin is proof of that richness and we hold fast to these moments as examples and encouragement for our lives.