Holly Macve by Maximillian Kinghorn-Mills

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest has a voice that’ll make you stop dead in your dust tracks. Born in Galway, raised in Yorkshire, based in Brighton she may be from various terra firma but her country tinged timbre and widescreen drama is not from this scorched earth. Holly Macve has music coarsing through the veins. Her Granddad was a classical composer, her Mum a singer who played Holly a slew of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Gillian Welch and Nick Cave during her formative years and the dividend is paying off. Following up from a 2017 debut of torchlight anthems and saloon bar soubriquets “Golden Eagle”, comes “Not The Girl”, all Nancy & a Leeward wind sweeping off the South coast, it’s an epic by anyone’s forecast.

Inspired by touring the world with Mercury Rev and singing with their orchestral backing from the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and with a able guitar sideman in Bill Ryder-Jones, the songs range from would-be C&W classics to woozy shoe-gaze tinged belters (my fav “Sweet Marie”) and alternative Twin Peaks scores and the result is breath-taking. It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome to these pages the richly voiced and talented Holly Macve!

First here’s one of the stand-outs from “Not The Girl”, the almost Mazzy Star like thrill of “Be My Friend”

Inspirations for the album include a book Holly found in Denton, Texas called “Tell Me A Story, Sing Me A Song” rammed with crowing murder ballads, but also a visit to Derek Jarman’s house in the apocalyptic solitudinous shadow of Dungeness power station, but this has been an album whose gestation has been slow and deliberate and had to fit around a multitude of part time jobs including as a care worker. Plenty of care has gone into the record that’s for sure, aided and abetted by Brighton local Max Kinghorn-Mills (of Hollow Hand) as co-producer and (when that was happening) touring band mate.

Other actors/contributors to the widescreen vision of “Not The Girl” included Fiona Brice (Placebo, John Grant) on strings, CJ Hillman (Billy Bragg) on pedal-steel, Emily Druce viola, and David Dyson/Phil Murphy behind the drums, with Collin Dupuis (Lana del Rey, Angel Olsen) mixing the album in Nashville (whose country town vibes defo show).

With an album so breathlessly evocative in scope I was keen to discover Holly’s musical pick, and it turns out to be literally cinematic…so without further ado, this is Holly Macve’s “song for ewe”…

“The Children – John Barry.

I fell in love with this piece of music after discovering the 1971 film ‘Walkabout’, directed by Nicolas Roeg. The whole soundtrack is so memorable and enchanting. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards, I was so taken by the beautiful aesthetics and sad story of this film. When I listen to this piece of music, it takes my imagination straight back to that vast, golden and lonely outback where the film is set.”


“Not The Girl” is out this Friday 14th May and you can get it here… 

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