Horace Holloway is a classic folk troubadour in contemporary wrapping. The moniker of Jeffery Morrison, the music that he makes under the moniker is as frank and personable as the real deal. Throughout his latest, he invokes a raw liveliness similar to the sinewy melodies of Shearwater alongside the folksy precision of Up on the Ridge-era Dierks Bentley. Therein lies the brilliance of Tin Foil Stars, the latest Horace Holloway EP on the horizon; it really does live up to its self-appointed expectations as “alt-country folk pop.”
The newest single, ‘Paper Heroes’, features Brett Williams of Mighty Joe Plum. His vocal harmonies interwoven with Holloway’s lends a rise to the anthemic notions in its melody. When the song breaks into a full-out folk jam across its bridge, it’s enough to get feet tapping and hips moving. At the center of it all is a hopeful message courtesy of Holloway. Nearing the song’s last moments, he croons, “I said I promise if you take my hand, it’ll be alright.”
Alongside the premiere of ‘Paper Heroes’, Morrison donned his Horace Holloway cap once more to chat with For Folk’s Sake as a part of our ongoing ‘FFS 5’ interview series.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?
I’m from Tallahassee, FL by way of Central FL by way of the Detroit Suburbs by way of Citrus County FL. In life I exist at this intersection of thick headed persistence and sheer dumb luck. Years back when I first met my wife, she had gotten tickets for her and a friend to see the band Rilo Kiley. Well, her friend got sick that day, and so she asked me if I wanted to go. I had never been to a concert, so I more than happily agreed even though, at the time, I had no idea who that band was.
Opening the show was a band from Austin, TX called “Okkervil River.” They had a bass line or something that I thought was interesting so on a whim I bought their CD. I was only familiar with mainstream radio music up to that point, so that album was a real eye-opener for me. A few weeks later my wife saw they were coming to a local brewery in Tampa, FL and I was stoked about seeing them and knew their material at this point. Well, I get there and the guy at the gate turns me away. I’m 19 and it’s a 21 and up show.
So, I linger for about 45 minutes or so, refusing to leave, and finally he relents on the condition that if he sees me anywhere near the bar he’ll “beat my ass himself.” So I’m going absolutely bananas in front of the stage and afterward I go around getting autographs. The drummer and I sort of hit it off, and he’s thanking me for rocking out and I told him they weren’t even going to let me in. He says, “That can never happen again,” and we swap contact info for future shows. That really changed everything for me, as I went from a music fan to “with the band.”
At the end of 2009 I got married, a month later my brother was killed, and 3 months later we found out my wife was pregnant. So I went from celebrating, to grieving to having absolutely no idea what was going on. And somewhere in that turmoil and uncertainty the seeds of my music career sprouted.
Around 2012 I started writing songs, and 2013 or 2014, I really started pursuing the dream.
As an artist, how do you define success?
That’s a funny one. I feel like a lot of people would define success as being rich and famous. You know, radio hits, millions sold, Grammy awards, what have you. But to hell with all that. For me, success is being able to live your dream, waking up everyday being able to say this is who I am and what I do, and being able to create art that’s your truth, that you’re passionate about and that allows you to express what you need to express. and the cherry on top is then being able to share that with those willing to take part in the journey. For me, living your dream is the definition of success.
What do you find your greatest struggle to be when it comes to the music business?
For me, it’s self-belief. I am my own biggest critic, to the extent that it hinders my ability to create. I’m a chronic over thinker and maybe too much of a perfectionist for my own good. On the business side, I feel like it’s the same for a lot of us; visibility, just having people know we exist.
What do you think is the most realistic goal you can achieve as an artist and as a band? What do you hope to achieve?
Most realistic? Man, anything is possible if you stay focused and put your mind to it! [laughs]
Although I will say, at this point, with me being 5’9, 165 lbs and already in my 30’s my dream of playing in the NFL is probably dead.
I’d say musical self sufficiency. Having my music be a 100% self-sustaining endeavor. That’s probably the most realistic.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Interacting and having relationships with people. That’s the wellspring that I draw my creative energy from. Whether it be in real life or online. I constantly feel myself being inspired by what people have going on in their lives, whether it be for subject matter for songs, or me absorbing the creativity and energy they’re putting out into their own projects and using that to inspire and refuel my own creative heart.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm