This Was a Giant
Latest Article from Amarillo Globe News 'All Grown Up Discipline Plays Key Role In Holder's Music' It may not show in his frequently untamed halo of frizzy blond hair. It doesn't really track with the usual image of a musician - late nights, random bursts of creative energy, big dreams unfettered by reality. But Luke Holder is a grown-up. A disciplined one, at that. And he likes it. Adulthood is in his habits, in his schedule, in his priorities. It's in his words, too. 'We're all just doin' the best we can. The sorrow of the world was created by man. And I don't know how it caught on, I know where I stand. Don't you chase it too far,' Holder sings in 'Don't Chase It,' a highlight of his last album, 'This Was a Giant.' Holder chased his dream to New York City twice, once as a single man, then again after marrying his wife. But he realized, to his surprise, that the Big Apple held nothing compared to Amarillo. 'I feel like I produce what I want to produce here,' he said during a recent conversation at O.H.M.S. Café & Bar, where he'll play Saturday night. 'It's just kind of an instinctual thing. ... It works for me because I want to write songs, and I feel ... that I write my best here.' And writing is what it's all about for Holder. 'I'm not just (expletive deleted) around. I want to write great songs. It's not a hobby, it's a life-or-death thing. I guess that's why I was able to put aside my ego and live here,' he said. 'It's not about who hears it, though that's nice. It's about trying to write the best songs I can.' To that end, Holder rearranged his whole life. He spends 90 minutes every weekday morning practicing and writing before heading off to his day job as an accountant. 'That's when I'm using my best energy,' Holder said, though he laughingly said he'd never been a morning person before. 'It's really been hard to come to terms with the fact that the time I could practice was 6 in the morning,' he said. 'It's so not rock 'n' roll,' he said, grinning. 'Every musician I talk to thinks I'm crazy. But it's do-or-die for me, now, and I'm addicted to it.' The early hours are a necessity with his 18-month-old son around, Holder said. 'I don't have much time to allocate to this,' he said of his songwriting sideline. 'I'm really respectful of the time I have to take away from (his wife and son) to do this. But in the end, that has caused me to be a lot more productive. Right now, I have 60 songs for my next CD, and I want more. On my last three CDs, I just made them when I had enough songs.' Though he's producing more than ever, Holder isn't ready to turn to music full time. 'This, to me, is like a treat because I don't get to do it very much. I always said that's why I didn't go to music school. I didn't want to make it a job and snuff out what I love,' he said. 'It's a respect for the passion, maybe. '... If it were my job, that would be awesome, but I'd certainly have a different approach to it.' Though the grown-up aspects of his life - his wife and son, particularly - have changed his songwriting, Holder said his biggest influences are still other singer/songwriters. 'It's the study of other people's music, others who have - in my opinion - achieved greatness in songwriting,' he said, citing Kevin Gilbert, Jeff Buckley and, lately, Conor Oberst, who records under the name 'Bright Eyes.' 'He's my latest, greatest influence. ... 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' is one of the greatest albums I own. I think it'll go down in history, it's that good,' Holder said. Gilbert, a somewhat obscure songwriter who died in 1996, actually made Holder rethink how he listened to music, helping him grow up even more in the process. 'I was more into the overall feel of music. I didn't delve into the words as much,' Holder said. 'Until Kevin Gilbert came along, I didn't give the words the power I should. ... It was almost like I had to listen to it first to begin to digest it, then listen to the words. 'I listened to music that way for 22 years, so I had to retrain myself.'