Knowing of her struggles casts The Living and the Dead in a haunting light, particularly when she sings “My little heart is a graveyard/It’s a no man’s land” in “Palmyra” or documents a devastating romantic bust-up in “The Future.” Still, she shows strength and confidence, which she credits in part to the guest players — who include M. Ward and Marc Ribot — and co-producer Shahzad Ismaily. “For every record except this one, I was just totally sick with nerves and stress, and it affects my voice really badly. It’s nobody but yourself in there, and I hear every mean thing that some asshole in the press has said about my voice. It’s awful. But with Shahzad, it’s actually functional to the point where I don’t get sick at every session.”
So maybe things are getting better?
“I guess so,” she laughs.
JOLIE HOLLAND + HERMAN DUNE | MFA, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | November 1 at 7:30 pm | $16-$20 | 617.369.3306 or www.mfa.org
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