With a name like John Hollywood, a few potential avenues of who it could be and what he does comes to mind: a satirical action movie character in the vein of a James Bond, a Beverly Hills realtor with shockingly white teeth, a WWE wrestler, or a porn star.
Well, surprisingly, none of those are correct in this case. Not even close, in fact. (or so we think)
Houston-born John Hollywood is a folk & Americana songwriter bringing a fresh new perspective in the style and tradition of a John Prine, Guy Clark, and Phil Ochs. He is now in California (go figure) where he’s spent the last twelve years pursuing music. With an emphasis on folk within country music, Hollywood creates a particular appeal that may be most appealing to millennials in its lighthearted and fun nature. The melodies put you at ease, and the lyrics get you thinking and reflecting upon the important things in life.
Hollywood just dropped his newest album, Young Heart’s Mansion, and there’s a lot to like. Here is a glimpse at some of the songs on the record:
The opening track, “Lilac Tree” is a different and quirky take on a love song. Leading with a much-welcomed banjo and whimsical presence, it describes a love or relationship that is always changing, yet the love between the two stays the same. Some times are better than others, but Hollywood explains, “Like a pine in the wind our love sways/But I treasure the days with my love”.
The third song on the album, “River”, captures the feeling of wishing time would slow down with a more acoustic country sound. The lyrics “If time is a river…I don’t ever want it to run wild again”, reminds us all how fragile time is, and how we need to be careful of how we spend it.
“When I’m Happy” is the more uplifting and jolly song on the album. It’s the kind where you grab your guitar and sing around the glowing campfire. The chorus sings, “Now’s the time in my life when I’m happy/Now’s the time when everything’s going right”. The rain has been endured and forgotten, and the rainbow has appeared over the horizon.
The last song, “Soapstone”, is the perfect addition to close out the album. It puts you at ease with the beautiful melody and acoustic instrumental emphasis. The song lays out everything we should all be thinking about, like having love and compassion for others. “And the goals we worked so hard to accomplish didn’t do us any good/It’s a good time to forget the past/It’s a good time to be free”. Those lyrics really put life into perspective, in a way that only music can.
But don’t take our word for it- Young Heart’s Mansion is available on all streaming platforms for your folk & Americana fix.