If I wasn't already sure, I am now convinced that Holly Arrowsmith is one of New Zealand's best young songwriters. Her music has a humility and honesty I’ve not seen before in someone her age.
On Saturday night, Holly played to an incredibly attentive crowd at The Tuning Fork in Auckland, in celebration of the release of her debut album a few weeks before.
At first I was a little tentative; this was the first time I’d seen Holly play with a full band. Would it drown out her beautifully haunting vocals? Thankfully, it did anything but. The band played an eclectic mix of instruments, including harmonica, omnichord, banjo, trumpet and lap steel guitar. They added a wonderful element to Holly’s songs.
Highlights for me were the multi-instrumentalist band members singing backing vocals, adding another dimension of depth to those songs.
Holly started, appropriately, with the first song on her album Mouth of the Mourning – one of my favourites. She went on to play for an hour and it didn’t feel a moment too long. Desert Owl was wonderful, as was Flinted.
Holly’s banter between songs was delightful. She spoke of growing up in the foothills in Arrowtown, how nature inspires her songwriting, and her move to the big city earlier this year. She ended the night playing a song for the first time: Farewell. The song spoke of leaving her family and the journey to Auckland. It was lovely to hear something new.
I would have given the show 5 stars, but I’m sure Holly has a long and successful career ahead of her and that the best is yet to come.