Mike Ireland and Holler

First: Mike Ireland‘s physique. His body is lean and mean, an intriguing physical form. His formidable sideburns alone can melt a snowbank with their sheer radiant energy. But is he a movie star? No. He’s a musician born and raised in Kansas City, with a rich musical heritage and a penchant for penning roots tunes of misery, hope and harmony. Back in the day, some of us reacted to him this way: Mike Ireland? Oh, yeah, he’s that dude from here on Sub Pop. Sweet. Who the hell is he? Well, plenty of people know who the hell Ireland is, including fans of his former band the Starkweathers and the management of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, where dreams dwell and where he has performed many times. The Opry’s an incredible place, by the way — waterfalls and hearty y’alls. We have family videos of our vacation to visit my uncle in Nashville. We stopped by the Opry. My mom walked down a giant spiral staircase in slow motion, looking like some kind of cartoon strutter, and I (with buck teeth) pretended to hit her over the head with an umbrella. My uncle caught it on film. My siblings and I used to watch the tape over and over because it was weird and sorta surreal. Mike Ireland and his band Holler are not weird or surreal, though. They’re tight, twangy and physically fascinating. — Matt Dunehoo

Categories: Music