I have only just discovered the musician and artist Lonnie Holley.
"Where does a bird go in the midst of a storm? I ask that because of my life and how I had to live—what I went through before being an artist. I believe I was chosen to be an artist because I can take my life and tell somebody else about it. But where does a bird go in the midst of a storm? What happened to my mind during the time I was unconscious for three and a half months as a child?
I remember when we used to go to church they had testimony time—time to testify, time to tell the congregation what you had been through. You all are the congregation to me, y’all is the church. My whole life is my testimony, as are the works you’ve seen and heard and the works I’m continuing to do because I can’t stop.
I can’t stop, I can’t cut my mind off. I can’t walk away from what I do without worrying about it. I appreciate my talent and my skill. Some things I look back on make me get kind of moody and I cry a little bit and it makes me sad all over again. But I make art and I made this record because I think it’s important. It’s important for me to keep a record of my life.”
- Lonnie Holley, from the sleeve notes of his 2013 lp Keeping a Record of It.
Holley has toured with Bill Callahan and played with Lower Dens, Deerhunter and Black Lips. His art, comprised mostly of found junk, has been exhibited widely, including at the American Folk Art Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. I’m not crazy about the term ‘outsider artist’ but Holley’s career has all the hallmarks: hard life, no art training at all, just a seemingly spiritual urge to create. His art is pretty amazing but his music is what really gets me.
Find out more here and here.