There are two things you’re not going to believe after hearing To The Long Haul by Holidays and Heat: first, that only one person is behind the songwriting and performing; and second, that such rich, soulful thoroughly American style-inspired music actually comes from the heart of Brazil.
There are a number of influences that make notable appearances throughout this album, and do so in stunning form. “Land of Bastards” lays a rhythm and blues foundation, lending a slightly pop vocal style and incorporating rock- inspired solos to create a thoroughly soulful song. It requires a few listens to truly appreciate just how intricate each instrumental portion is, and how they each contribute to the song as a whole.
“Preacher Man” takes a step in the blues direction. It sounds like the sort of music I heard in my grandmother’s house on bright Sunday afternoons. The blues guitar solo is an especially nice touch; ending the song just as one like this might with the fadeaway. There’s also “Skinny Dog,” which builds on the blues while incorporating more of a rock sound.
There is a lot of character to be found here, too. “The Sea and the Pool” has a bit of a surfer, beachy feel and just kind of sways along, which is incredibly apropos given the title of the song. “Devil Is a Self Made Man” gathers a lot of character from the beat that sounds much like a horse trotting down a path, and makes one think of a cowboy out in the Wild West looking out for danger.
As though the varying influences and character weren’t enough, the gripping beauty that especially makes an appearance during the latter half of the album really adds a whole new angle to the album. “Road (Home)” sounds like the quintessential love song and kicks off the theme well. “Silver Beach” took my breath away. The piano melody is gently saccharine, supported by deep bass and an elevated vocal pitch. It makes you feel like you’re driving across the beach at sunset, riding in the flatbed of a pickup truck, with arms outstretched and hair gliding in the wind. It’s a truly liberating song. And there is something about the tone of “Whisper Song,” from the meaty guitar riffs to the sad piano chords, that from the very beginning captured my heart and held it tight. Although the album felt well rounded and was a nice length, I didn’t want it to end yet and indeed, felt quite sad when greeted with the heavy silence that meant it was truly over.
This managed to tap nostalgia within me that I’d forgotten existed, while still capturing my soul in new ways. This is not an album you listen to once and forget; rather, it leaves a little something with you, almost like a flame deep inside your chest. It may be nothing more than a flicker, but it will be there, waiting, urging you to venture back into the soothing world Lou Parisi creates under the moniker Holidays and Heat. Three cheers To The Long Haul and we hope you come back to visit us in America soon, Lou!
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