RIP Jerry Holland

RIP Jerry Holland

Just got news he passed away this evening. I’m speechless.

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Re: RIP Jerry Holland

Huh? Jerry posted an update on his website Thursday July 16, 2009 saying his latest brain scan came back clear. Where did you get your info?

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That update is from two years ago, Will. That by itself is not a good sign…

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oooh, weird coincidence. I missed that.

Damn. A fine fiddler and human being.

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One of the greats.

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A great loss for the music.

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My brother was over in Canada last year and went to hear Jerry play - he met him afterwards and was enormously impressed by how fine and modest a guy he was. Jerry said he was always amazed how people enjoyed his playing so much that they would travel to hear him play !!!

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Truely sad news - met him the once in Milwaukee - a gentleman fiddler.

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A lovely man, a great player and composer. RIP

Dan

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A huge loss. Devastating. Way too young, just 54.

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Oh no!

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There was none better.

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I spoke to Jerry on the ‘phone a few years back in connection with an article I was writing and he proved to be a mine of information, an hilarious teller of tales, and a wonderful store of knowledge about Cape Breton fiddle music.

To use that recurrent phrase from ‘An Beal Bocht’, but in a genuine sense, we won’t see his like again!

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A great character, great heart, music that made your feet itch and your soul sing ~ those things are constant and that light will continue to guide…

Thanks for all the fish… ‘c’

Jerry Holland ~ if you aren’t already familiar ~ recommended

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It is sad news indeed. He was a great fiddler and composer of tunes. May he rest in peace and may his music live forever.

Jerry Holland’s music ~

Sorry, I forgot one other of Jerry’s recordings, released originally as a cassette, like "Lively Steps", and only in that form, and sadly long unavailable. I hope it will surface again. His music will always give pleasure and inspiration in this household. Before the nieghbours complained we regularly used it for our ‘step dance diet’, stepping in the kitchen first thing every morning to the likes of Jerry’s bow.

Here’s that other recording ~ "Jerry Holland: Fathers & Sons"

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Very sad news indeed. :(

Will play Brenda Stubbert’s tonight at the session.

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A bringer of joy- the best.

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great fiddler, great composer. great person. great loss.

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Sad day, great man, glad I got to see him play once at the Lowell Folk Festival, so good he made me forget how sweltering hot and miserable the weather was that day!

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Most discussions about musicians who died were ones I haven’t heard of, but I was shocked to see about this! That’s a sad thing to hear, may God bless him and his family. His tunes and playing were all wonderful, he’ll be missed.

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This is a sad day….never met him, but he was always right around the corner here in Cape Breton, kind of always seemed like he’s always been here and always would.

Coincidentally, the tune I’m learning right now is a jig, "Jerry Holland" , by Brenda Stubbert. Tomorrow, i start on "Brenda Stubbert’s", by Jerry.

Worse things than to be remembered as a fine person and great musician.

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It’s difficult for me to talk about how I feel about his music without it sounding like hyperbole.
His playing, to me, is on a different level than any other traditional musician I can think of.

It’s not about technique at all. Jerry’s bowing was a bit scratchy and his pitch a bit wobbly at times- we all know that.

Somehow- I don’t really know how to express it- his playing wasn’t just about the tunes.
Somehow his playing transcended the tunes themselves and expressed something about the human condition.
That’s what great music does: expresses something that only music can express, something that is by its very nature impossible to verbalise.

In this way, his playing is like a great painting or photograph. ’
A great painting transcends the nuts and bolts of technique; it isn’t about the use of colour and form and line and the formal composition, but rather uses these to create a work of art that expresses something about being human.
There are many paintings which are technically admirable that seem to express nothing, and there are many musicians who have great technique on their instrument but who seem to churn through tunes mechanistically and in whose hands the tunes have no meaning or purpose.

Jerry wasn’t an Irish fiddler but to me, once I heard his playing of an Irish fiddle tune, the tune always subsequently sounded flat and souless in any other fiddler’s hands.
He simply was the most musical, most expressive fiddler I’ve ever heard.

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Did you hear that lliG leachim?

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i heard him at the doryman in cheticamp n.s., maybe 12 years ago — he sat playing for hours and might as well have been in a trance. his playing was mellow, sweet, and smooth, and not at all strident the way some of his recordings sound to me. my companion was an accomplished dancer from ireland, and he was easily persuaded to play a set for her to dance to, which started a friendly competition among the local ladies, and the music just flowed through him. i’m lucky to have seen him, and sad that he’s gone.

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Jerry’s tone and pitch were spot on… listen to Crystal Clear… that’s the recording that came closest to his live sound… the harmonics ringing from the instrument come from bang-on pitch, and just gorgeous tone. Here’s the man ripping through some reels…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTZSRDG3_sQ&NR=1

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Drone, what’s stunning about that clip is how well the guitarist impersonates a piano! I wonder what tuning he uses….

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Indeed, just another of life’s mysteries…

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there is a piano on that recording - you can’t see it, but listen carefully and it’s there, just before the guitar comes in at the start. perhaps that’s is what you hear, Will.

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Um, I *know* there’s a piano on that recording. The point being that there isn’t a piano in the whole cottage. I’m accustomed to audio and video being out of joint on YouTube, but this goes a bit far….

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gotcha. duh, missed the joke without the winking smilie face!

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Sorry, just wasn’t in an emoticon mood. My bad. Weird humor can get lost in all these pixels….

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That is such sad news- Jerry was not just such a fine musician and composer but a prince of a guy. My area was sort of a "home-away -from-home" for him and he spent a lot of time here. Many area kids got to take lessons from him and do workshops and he was so wonderful with them. He had so much to live for and so much still to give……

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One of nature’s gentlemen.

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RIP Jerry

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I’d admired Jerry’s music for years, and finally had a chance to get to know him a bit at the Swannanoa Gathering a few years back. He was one of the kindest and most generous souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in this life, and his passing saddens me beyond words.

This video was shot just a few weeks ago in Cape Breton at what must have been one of his last performances. He was an incredible musician and composer and will be remembered far and wide for that. He was an even better human being, though, and the world is a poorer place for his passing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G41ecmWiCo4


RIP, Jerry

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Ah, that’s terrible. Thanks for posting that video, Will - great music (including Jackie Coleman’s for something appropriately Irish), and I’m as baffled by that amazing guitarist as you - swear I hear a sustain pedal at times…does he hammer the strings to get that Baldwin sound? ;)

While on the subject of sounding like something else here’s a 71 year old clip of Westmeath piper R.L. O’Mealy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGhM6MueWbE&feature=channel_page And here’s some MP3s: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/music/index.html Point of bringing this up is that when Liam O’Flynn heard a dub of RL he swore it was a carillon!


I took a lesson from Kevin Burke once and mangled some tune in Bb for his edification. He mentioned being amazed by Jerry Holland, playing a whole set of tunes in flat keys, finding it all a bit pointless, why not just play them in G or D? And then he played a bit of the Banks in G. I dismissed this as lame or the like! If Jerry can do it you can, my man. Well sure enough a couple of years later Kevin recorded Minnie Foster’s in F. I like to think maybe I nudged him a bit, with Jerry as an example. And what a helluva an example he was.

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My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Holland on trips to Cape Breton the last couple of years and we were both struck by his warmth and kindness.

Albeit the world has lost a great musician, his music, his presence and his soul will keep living with us all. RIP Jerry.


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Jeff, thanks for the link to that July 6 clip of Jerry. I love the smile he grows at 26 seconds in. A good way to remember the man.

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Will,

That smile was one of the first things I noticed in the video when I saw it. "Beatific" is the word that comes to mind for that smile. I’d seen that smile before when I saw him play, and had almost forgotten it. It was grand to see it again, and is a wonderful way to remember him.