Life leaves its imprint on us in the form of memories, scars, and lessons. Like a well-trodden and trusted highway, Hollier proudly brandishes the wisdom and experience of a fascinating personal journey in his music. The Louisiana-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist shares honest stories over a backdrop of gruff heartland rock with a twist of country soul. He’s gone from accompanying multiplatinum stars such as Carly Pearce and Cassadee Pope to generating north of 1 million streams independently and packing houses as a solo artist. Now, he formally introduces himself on his self-titled 2022 full-length debut, Hollier.
“I’m trying to tell a story,” he emphasizes. “I’ve done a lot of growth as an artist, as a writer, and as a person. I wanted this record to be raw and show some scars, but I also wanted it to have subtle moments. I hope people hear the honesty in these songs and the performance.”
Hailing from Central Louisiana, Hollier absorbed a passion for music through his family. His uncle performed in a Cajun zydeco band, while his brothers picked up guitar and drums. He initially experienced live music through the church and honkytonks, teaching himself chords on the internet and gigging with local bands. At the same time, he listened to everyone from Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Byrds to Ozzy Osbourne. After two years at Louisiana State University, he transferred to Belmont University and settled in Nashville. He joined Levi Hummon’s band as a guitarist, hitting the road with Dwight Yoakam, Heart, Billy Currington and more. During 2018, he handled guitar duties for Cassadee Pope before serving as a touring guitarist for Carly Pearce.
Not long after, he made a crucial decision…
“I made a personal pact to not simply be a hired gun by the end of the year,” he recalls. “I wanted to put out my own material.”
During 2019, he dropped “War Cry” and gained coveted playlist placements on Spotify, racking up nearly half-a-million streams. “Living in the van,” he logged 55 shows coast-to-coast and chronicled the experience with “Jeff Buckley’s Ghost.” He caught the attention of GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer Eric Masse [Miranda Lambert]. They hit the studio to record what would become the album with a little help from Cage The Elephant guitarist Nick Bockrath, multi-instrumentalist Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick and Midland, and Miranda Lambert drummer G. Maxwell Zemanovic.
“We did everything analog,” he goes on. “We got in one room and cut the songs live. I’d never done anything like that before, but I trusted the system. I’m so happy with how it turned out.”
The first single “Reckless Love” ebbs and flows between gruff verses and a skyscraping refrain uplifted by unpredictable guitars and airy keys as he assures, “I don’t mind, if you don’t mind, a little reckless love.”
“At the time, we were playing to audiences who were as gritty as the bars and clubs themselves,” he admits. “Henry Conlon and I wrote several songs about the scene, and our muse was an imaginary traveling songwriter. She’s on a perpetual tour, and she’s always looking for love in the wrong places.”
Piano and guitar entwine on “Devil’s in the Details” before a soaring saxophone solo shines in the spotlight.
“It’s a personal favorite,” he grins. “It tells another story. You let some guy into your house, and you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you how he creeps you out. I was watching a lot of NETFLIX documentaries at the time,” he laughs.
Slide guitar glows on “Wrestle My Heart” as he sings “about laying it out there for someone who loves you even though it’s going to be tough love.” Then, there’s the rollicking “St. Germain.” Channeling New Orleans folklore, the track sinks its teeth into the lore of vampire Jacques St. Germain who “folks still apparently see to this day,” as he notes.
A steady beat simmers on “Malina” as he bottles the tension of mythic tale amidst evocative instrumentation. It burns off on the embers of multiple acoustic guitars around a lone microphone.
“Malina is an Inuit sun goddess,” he elaborates. “She ran so fast she became the sun, and her foe ran so fast he became the moon chasing her. The tribe witnessed the chase every day like a spiritual clock.”
In the end, Hollier puts everything he’s gained on his road into his songs—and he makes an instant connection.
“At this point, I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember,” he concludes. “This embodies a 10-year journey. It shows what music always was for me—plugging in and not being afraid to make mistakes. I hope you hear that. I’m being as honest as I can be with the sounds and my storytelling.”