Elliott Holden is a young Atlanta musician on the rise. His guitar style has electrified the live music scene in the city and has gathered a crowd of fans. Whether he’s laying down the blues with Georgia legends at local juke joints or opening for Talib Kweli at SXSW he’s “killing it.”
Where are you from originally?
Born in Germany, moved around a lot when I was younger till about age 12 and then raised in Augusta, Ga. I claim Augusta as my home.
When did you start playing?
1988 — age 14
What Atlanta music artist do you admire?
I’m sure there are a couple, but none currently come to mind. Oh Janel Monet, not sure if she is “from” Atlanta, but I like her a lot.
Who are the three biggest musical inspirations in your life and why?
Eric Johnson – his guitar playing is unparalleled, he is the perfectionist’s perfectionist if there is such a thing.
Joni Mitchell – I used to listened to her a lot in high school, great musical soundtrack for a young adolescent finding his way in the world.
Jimi Hendrix – obvious reasons, he is the best there ever was.
How would you describe your musical style?
“Urban Guitar” which is a fusion between rock, jazz and hip-hop/
You recently played SXSW tell me about what you did and your experience in Austin.
Well, I played at a bar called“Krave” and opened for a hip-hop artist named Talib Kweli. It wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, the whole SXSW experience, for better or worse. [Laughs]. To be fair, I wasn’t playing an officially sanctioned SXSW event — then again, a lot of folks weren’t [laughs] — but it was in the midst of all the madness.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
Right now I’m recording a new album, scheduled to be release on Aug. 12, 2014. It is tentatively titled “Illn Em Softly” — kind of a play on words if you will. This will be the first guitar instrumental album ever to successfully fuse the sound of rock, jazz and hip-hop.
If you could play a concert with three musical legends who would it be and why?
Joni Mitchell – she is quiet simply one of the most creative musicians of our time. I love her vocals and her song writing. I’d love to just back her up on guitar.
B.B. King – because B.B. is simply one of the most pure blues guitarists there is. His guitar style is deceptively simple.
Drake – I think I could enhance a drake show and my style of guitar would blow peoples minds if they caught me on a bill with him.
What are you currently listening to?
Drake – dude is super talented. I should more accurately say that I’m listening to whatever “producers” have been producing his music (maybe it’s him, who knows, lol). But in general Drake has a killer melodic sense as well as being a great lyricist. I think he will stand the test of time.
What is your favorite genre of music?
Well, I take this as the “deserted island” kind of question. In other words, if I were trapped on a deserted island, what genre of music could I not live without? Though I like many — I’d say, hi- hop just for the simple fact that the music is still evolving at a faster pace than other genres. It could be because it’s still in its infancy, or adolescence rather, compared to say rock or blues. Also, when “new”styles of hip-hop come along they seemed to embrace “other” styles of music more readily. Genres like blues or jazz quite often have “more” purist type listeners, which can some times hold it back from growth.
What musical artist would people be surprised to find in your collection?
Carole King or Joni Mitchell
Do you have any upcoming shows?
Working on something for the Clay Theater possibly in a few months as well as my CD release party around Aug. 12, my birthday. The CD release party will be titled “The Forty Year Old Virgin” [Laughs.]
How can people follow you?
They can meet me at the CVS up the street from house and proceed to follow me around town. I suggest they a bicycle, skateboard or use some other form of wheeled transportation as I am always on my bicycle. If that is too much trouble they can sign my mailing list at www.elliotholden.com or follow me at facebook.com/urbanguitarlegend or Twitter @elliotholden
What is your favorite album that impacted you emotionally?
Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark