BEGINNINGS: ARCHIVE REVIEW
L.A. Times Music Review by Liana Aghajanian
March 20, 2010 12 AM PT
In a corner of Left Coast Wine Bar & Gallery’s cozy second floor, Sony Holland flooded the room with her dipped-in-honey voice and cool, collected attitude on a stress-free Friday night. Dressed in black, the singer, with her guitarist husband, Jerry, accompanying her, chit-chatted with patrons between sets as they unwound in one of Glendale's hidden gems.
Her new twists on classic standards, coupled with original songs, attracted not only cheers from her small audience but prompted those who were eavesdropping on her set downstairs to move themselves (and their wine) onto the sectional couches. “I’ve been listening downstairs,” said one patron who made her way upstairs during the middle of Holland’s 3 1/2 -hour performance. “It’s fabulous.”
Originally from Minnesota and having spent the last few years performing in jazz clubs in the Bay Area, Holland is new to the Los Angeles jazz scene as she moved into a downtown L.A. apartment last summer with her husband, who has had success in the Nashville music scene as a staff songwriter for Warner/Chappell Music and Mike Curb Music.
With three independent CDs under her belt, including one released last year titled ‘Swing, Bossas, Ballads and Blues’, Holland exudes passion and has a deep connection with the songs she sings, especially in the laid-back atmosphere at Left Coast.
Holland’s renditions of the original French classic ‘Autumn Leaves,’ Americanized by Johnny Mercer in the late 1940s, was luscious and perfectly on par with the relaxing mood of the evening. It was followed up by another favorite, ‘The Way You Look Tonight.’ Her original songs were just as apt, including ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Curiosity,’ in which Holland sang in the glow of the low red lights that surrounded her on the second floor.
With her well-rounded voice and charm, it’s no surprise that Holland has written a tribute to Peggy Lee. In black knee-high boots, Holland sang, ‘I learned that love is a game, men are tigers to tame, don’t hang it on me, blame it on Peggy Lee.’ Her set also included standards such as ‘Come Fly With Me’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes for You,’ but Holland really shone singing the bonafide jazz hits ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face’ and ‘Meditation.’
Holland took a short break, where she mixed with patrons and absorbed the ambience of the night.
And in a quaint wine bar, where a few drinks and appetizers were enjoyed on a relaxing Friday night, Glendale gained some serious soul.