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Jolie Holland 

When: Thu., Feb. 23, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $18, $20

Sultry, willowy folk singer Jolie Holland counts Tom Waits among her many fans, and the two have a similar sensibility -- not just because they reside on the same label, either. Both traffic in old-timey blues and hepcat styles, and both sing with a noticeable lack of self-awareness, as though they aren't cognizant of their voices being the main thing. Whereas Waits is gruff and splotchy, though, Holland has a classically beautiful vocal timbre, buoyed, in part, by her Texas accent. Her languid phrasing makes lyrics sound blurry and smeary, even when the melodies are straightforward. That seems to suit the ballad "Old Fashioned Morphine" and "I Wanna Die."  All the slurs and vibratos conspire to make Holland's music extraordinary, even if they seem unplanned. It's as though her voice were a character of its own. Holland will perform with opener Wyatt Hesemeyer at The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland) on Thursday, Feb. 23. 9 p.m., $18, $20.

— Rachel Swan


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