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Maggie Holland was born and bred in Hampshire (southern England) and first became involved with music through the local folk club scene in the late sixties. Her first professional musical work was as bass guitarist and eventually, singer  in the blues/goodtime duo Hot Vultures with Ian A. Anderson. The Vultures toured in Britain, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, covering approximately 30,000 miles per year during 1973-79; Maggie was also the sole driver. The duo expanded into the English Country Blues Band in the late seventies, with Rod Stradling and Sue Harris (later Chris Coe).

By 1980, Maggie had started to work occasionally as a soloist, accompanying her voice on guitar and 5-string banjo on a mixture of modern  and traditional British/American songs. It was in 1983 that she recorded her first solo album Still Pause. She worked in an occasional duo with Chris Coe, including a tour of the Far East for the British Council in 1985. In the meantime, ECBB had further evolved into a country dance band called Tiger Moth which was not only quite popular, but also quite LOUD!

In 1985 Maggie was called on at short notice to be the female singer in a three month run of the National Theatre’s production of Tony Harrison’s stunning Mysteries trilogy. Around this time she did some work with Oxford-based melodeon player Dave Parry, and continued to play in The Vacant Lot, a small country dance band based in NE Hampshire, in spite of her move to Oxford in ‘86. In 1987 she started to write some songs herself, initially encouraged/goaded into it by her Tiger Moth colleague Jon Moore, with whom she had recorded the EP A Short Cut. With Moore, and Kevin Mason on keyboards, she formed Maggie’s Farm which was able to develop the arrangements of the songs considerably. Maggie’s Farm did a memorable tour of Bangladesh in 1988. The following year she started playing bass in songwriter Robb Johnson’s occasional band, with fellow old Moth John Maxwell on drums.

By the beginning of the 90’s the various band line-ups had lived out their natural spans for one reason or another, and in 1992 Maggie recorded her second solo album  Down to the Bone. It  received  great acclaim (although inversely proportional sales figures). She emigrated to Scotland in 1993 and now lives in Leith.  Since the beginning of 1996, Maggie started to work regularly in Belgium again after a long and regrettable gap since the last Hot Vultures tour in 1978.

In the winter of 98/99 Maggie recorded Getting There, on Irregular Records (IRR 035). Her current repertoire includes songs by Robb Johnson, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg and Bruce Cockburn alongside her own original songs and some traditional material.  Her songs have been recorded by several other artistes, including Martin Carthy and June Tabor. In February 2000 Maggie received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards “Best Song of 1999” for her song A Place Called England. 

Circle of Light was recorded in the summer of 2003 and released in late autumn. Maggie's own voice and instrumentation were augmented by Wendy Wetherby on cello and Malcom Ross on guitar. It features songs by Leon Rosselson, Billy Bragg, Dave Evans and Al Stewart, including no less than 5 from Robb Johnson. The two Holland originals, No 4071, Private Bennett and Cold night on Bernard Street have attracted critical acclaim - the latter song was already established in June Tabor's live repertoire.

An archaeological excavation of Maggie's earlier recorded works has resulted in a compilation called Bones that includes tracks from Still Pause ( 1983), A Short Cut (1986), Down To the Bone ( 1993) and some previously unreleased stuff.....also a new recording of A Place Called England. The majority are on CD for the first time. More details plus retail from http://www.frootsmag.com/shop/beatnik/

 

"The proof that outstanding contemporary songs are still being written
 Colin Irwin, fRoots