‘For The Weary Traveller’ is the debut album from Santa Fe-born, Queenstown-raised, and lately Auckland-based country-folk singer Holly Gilling, aka Holly Arrowsmith. The 21-year old has long been a musician following her own path, and this was recorded in a remote, ‘grass roots’ studio, deep in the hills around Queenstown, 10 tracks of country and folk that bring to life her stripped back, emotive music.
There’s much to recommend. Gilling’s voice has a dusty, haunting tone, and her bare, but resonant, acoustic guitar tone underpins this well – a simple base to hang her melodies on. The majority of the album is light and airy, with plenty of space for her songs to breathe, but my favourite is the darker, slightly denser Lady Of The Valley, which has an atmosphere of anticipation and foreboding. A good, consistent debut, the performances are solid, the songs crafted with care… but it didn’t hold my sustained interest. A little more deviation in style would have been just right.