/“Every Hour” Claire Holley revisits how she ‘started to really enjoy music’ with new release of hymns

“Every Hour” Claire Holley revisits how she ‘started to really enjoy music’ with new release of hymns

Her new album “Every Hour” is a revisitation of the genre 20 years since the release “Sanctuary”, her hymn-centric second album, which was inspired by her father’s suggestion. She’s had two children, lost both her parents, and has grown as an artist over the years. She describes the 20th anniversary as a “looking back”, and compares it to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” twenty years later. Holley, who is now from Los Angeles, will share those hymns with a local crowd at a free public performance at Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, 5:30 p.m. on July 14. John Plymale co-produced “Every Hour”, just like “Sanctuary”. Rob Seals was also a part of both. This new CD features a variety of music, including a fourth-century carol, Southern gospel, a Beach Boys cover, and a children’s song. Holley also has her own song about a Bible character and her music on another hymn. “Every Hour” was recorded at Texas Hill Country retreat Laity lodge last November with additional musicians back in L.A. Holley also included input from Jack and Nate and her husband Chad. Holley says that having her family involved felt like another thread. Her father, Knox Chamblin sang on “Sanctuary” and Holley loved hymns. Both my parents loved hymns, and hymns were how I first started to enjoy music,” she said. She listened in church to her father’s tenor voice and enjoyed hearing it. Chamblin was an educator at Belhaven College, now Belhaven University. She also taught at Reformed Theological Seminary. Chamblin suggested that she consider the hymn route as her second release in 1997. She was singing a hymn in the parking lot of a church, just a few days after she had sung it at a cousin’s wedding. She had only released one album in the world, apart from a cassette she made in college. “I thought, well… hold on. “I’m not a gospel musician. Yes, I am a person who believes, but I don’t want to be called a gospel singer. I told him, “Dad, sure.” “Would you pay for it?” She giggles at the thought. “Seriously, that’s what I said. I got that professorial look. He even funded it. She turned to crowdsourcing this time. “I put on my brave hat. My fundraising hat actually — how can I raise $15,000?” She sought advice and decided to take the plunge. “I was terrified to death. What if it doesn’t happen? “I did it anyway.” With buy-in from over 150 people, her effort exceeded the goal. Holley, who has a “Every Hour” tour that reaches many venues, doesn’t see any difference between performing at a bar or in a church. “People bring struggles to both. I like to believe that I don’t sing differently. … Johnny Cash would agree. “He’s an inspiration in that when he sings hymns, you kinda believe it.” Holley’s voice and hands make the hymns sound clear and sincere. For recording “Every Hour,” producer Plymale turned the Laity Lodge’s Cody Center into a makeshift sound room/studio, improvising with yoga mats and hymnbooks to isolate each player a bit, yet keep the all-together-in-the-room feel. “Guerrilla recording,” he calls it. “That makes it quite an experience.” It came to me, even though I don’t know how it happened. She said, “It makes me smile.” Holley also reached out to others for ideas. This is how “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” was born. In “Begotten”, ancient monks’ songs are changed to loops by musician Dan Phelps. Dan uses spoons, forks, and Holley tools along with spontaneous scat singing. All of this was captured in a behind the scenes video and on the release. She fell in love with “You Still Believe in Me” by The Beach Boys from her “Pet Sounds” album. What would it sound like to place a teenage love song within the context of a gospel album, and make it sound different — would it be different? Holley lost her father, Ginger, in 2012 and her mother in 2013. She says that even though it is strange to not have them there as “Every Hour” is released, they are still present. “They helped me to achieve this. That is what I believe. Their encouragement is a big part of why I do this. “…That starts very young, making it feel like you have courage to try something, something creativity and go out on an limb. She still has close ties to the state with Beverly Harmon in Jackson, her husband’s parents, in Oxford, as well as extended family. Jackson projects, which celebrated Eudora Welty 100th birthday and featured a live performance with Ballet Mississippi — are just a few of her musical collaborations. She also works with filmmakers on the West Coast. She believes her father would be thrilled that she recorded more hymns. He was always supportive of her efforts, Holley said. Holley stated that even though this collection of sacred songs may take some getting used to, it is still something her father would be thrilled about.