It’s been 10 years since the release of Atlanta-based artist Lonnie Holley‘s musical debut, Just Before Music, an oracular and experimental blend of improvised sound and imaginative poetry. In the decade since, Holley has embraced music even more fully, releasing a string of revelatory albums, collaborating with artists like the late Richard Swift and Matthew E. White, and traveling the world, spontaneously composing and improvising along the way, pulling strands of jazz, gospel, and blues from the air, returning often to his gentle mantra: “Thumbs up for Mother Universe.”
Hot on the heels of receiving a United States Artist Fellowship for his visual art, Holley has released a new single, “I Went a Little Too Far (Mistreating Love).” Recorded live at soundcheck in April 2019 in Krems, Austria, it’s accompanied by a stirring video by director Ethan Payne, filmed in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Taking the form of a cosmic lament, “I Went a Little Too Far (Mistreating Love)” aches with Anthropocene remorse, and like all of Holley’s best work, is imbued with an emotional resonance that’s as mournful as it is beautiful. Ethan Payne provided this statement about the making of the video:
“Over the years I’ve had the absolute joy and privilege to tag along with Lonnie Holley and his crew on several tours. This European tour was a special one. Because I’d been filming with him and Matt [Arnett] for years at that point, I felt comfortable asking them to do things like wake up at 5 AM so we could walk along the Charles Bridge in Prague at sunrise, or to stop the van off the side of the highway and walk in a field of wind machines in Germany. Or to traipse through the field of yellow flowers in Switzerland. And of course Lonnie was always down, is always down. Always down for an adventure. In this video I fell in love with the image of him as a sort of prophet, wandering the planet, warning the inhabitants to change our ways. To ‘repent’ of how we harm each other and the earth.”
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