John Holden to make solo debut at the Kimball Jenkins Estate
Walking to the store, washing the dishes, eating dinner quietly, every moment filled with its own emotions. And it’s in these moments, John Holden finds his muse.
“The songs are about everyday joys and sorrows,” Holden said about his songs.” It’s part of my life. . . . It’s my life and what I see around me.”
Holden, best known for his work with the bands The Chip Smith Project and Lunch at the Dump, will make his solo-artist debut Saturday at the Kimball Jenkins Estate.
At the same time, longtime friend and collaborator Laurie Sargent, who worked with Holden in musical endeavors that include The Chip Smith Project, Twinemen, Orchestra Morphine and Face To Face, will be debuting songs from her latest release, Little Dipper and the Shooting Star.
“The album came together impromptuly – which not really a word but ought to be – in January,” Sargent said. “It’s two shows that we’re kind of weaving together.”
Holden’s portion of the show will highlight new and old original tunes and covers. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, Holden has been playing guitar since he was a teenager.
“Early on, I stuck with it because I could make money playing music without having to do anything else,” he said. “And then I got out of music for a really long time. . . . The band fell apart and things change.”
He took a 20-year hiatus. During that time he was a logger and antiques dealer, playing music, occasionally in his living room, but not much. But in the mid- to late ’90s, he started noodling around with playing with a friend, eventually stumbling onto the former bandmates and friends he used to play with back in the 1970s.
“I jumped right in and that was that,” he said. “It took me awhile to get back up to speed.”
And the only change from the old days, “Everybody but me was a lot better.”
The most dramatic change, he said was becoming a singer, since he’d never attempted vocals in the past.
“I could just sort of feel it,” he said. “When I was playing, I could feel that I could do it.”
And it turns out he’s a natural. Sargent said he’s not only a good singer, but has the ability to, with her at least, mold his voice to her to make a perfect harmony.
The night also belongs to Sargent, who grew up in Hopkinton. During the show, Sargent will highlight songs from her upcoming release.
“It’s fairly eclectic (album) and kind of quirky,” she said. “And it was just a great experience. Because I basically started fooling around on a mandolin – which was kind of a new instrument for me – for several months and just kind of plinked away on it and these songs made themselves around it. Sometimes songwriting is really effortless, and sometimes it’s really hard, and this time it was really effortless.”
Though she lives in Montana now, she came back East and had musician friends add to the album, which she said, worked perfectly without any direction.
“Literally, the record made itself,” she said. “It was magical, really.”
One of the songs on the playlist for the Kimball Jenkins concert is the title track off of her new album. She said when that song was conceived everyone got together in a room and “put their own swatches of color on it.” The result she said is a song that she wrote, for sure, but feels more like a true collaboration.
Sargent has had a successful, albeit eclectic musical career, perhaps most notably commercially for her work with the band Face to Face. The band got its start in New Hampshire when guitarist fellow Hopkinton native Stuart Kimball got his friends Sargent, Angelo Petraglia, John Ryder and Billy Beard together to play some music. In 1980 they headed for Boston , eventually signing with Epic records. Their best-known single, “10-9-8,” peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. And it was Sargent, backed by the guys from Face to Face, who gave voice to the Ellen Aim band in the 1984 classic cult film Streets of Fire. Sargent can be heard on the songs, “Never Be You” and “Sorcerer.”
The band broke up in 1988 but has continued to play together in one form or another for the past 25 years. Sunday’s show is no exception. Sargent described them as “a melange of people connected to their New Hampshire roots and several noted Boston musicians.”
Also playing at the show will be Stuart Kimball (Face To Face, Twinemen, Peter Wolf, Bob Dylan); Matt Leavenworth (Lunch at the Dump, John Lincoln-Wright); Peter Leavenworth (Lunch at the Dump); Evan Harriman (Orchestra Morphine, The Chip Smith Project); David Champagne (Treat Her Right); David Westner; and Billy Beard (Face To Face, Session Americana and every band in Cambridge).
As for what Sargent hopes people take away from the evening, well that’s simple: “Groovy, shaking buttocks and a big smile.”
Doors open 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets may be available at the door, but advance purchase is suggested. Tickets are available at Pitchfork Records in Concord, The Everyday Café in Fountain Square, Contoocook, or online atbrownpapertickets.com/event/367139.
The Kimball Jenkins Estate Carriage House is at 266 N. Main St. in Concord.