Classically trained pianist Holly Bowling has spent her entire life listening to the band Phish, and now she's re-imagining Phish and other jam bands like The Grateful Dead for piano solos. Bowling has released cover albums of both bands, and her latest covers The Grateful Dead. It's called "Better Left Unsung."
Taking long complex improvisational music and boiling it down to a single instrument is no easy feat. Bowling talks to The Takeaway about how she manages to reduce the intricate arrangements into something flowing and serene, mixing classical sensibility with jazzy inflection, dynamic intuition, and some of the rock and roll magic that defines Phish and The Dead. Bowling explains what’s different about both bands for her, even if most of the world can’t tell them apart. And she uses live examples with the help of the piano in the Soundcheck studio to explain exactly what’s going on in her tracks.
Bowling is currently on tour, and will be playing two shows in NYC this week as Phish plays their semi-annual four-night run at Madison Square Garden. Her new album Better Left Unsung is available at Hollybowling.com or wherever you get music. Also, check out her Takeaway Live performance of the Dead classic “Cassidy” here: