There is an element of sanguinity with Holly McNarland’s newest release Run Body Run. If you’re like many from an earlier era, you may recall the Winnipeg lady’s 1995 ‘Sour Pie’, 1997’s ‘Stuff’, 2002’s ‘Home is Where My Feet Are’, 2006’s ‘Komrade Session’s and lastly, 2007’s ‘Chin Up Buttercup’. McNarland is one artist that has truly glued her feet to ground with Run Body Run: she went back to her independent roots, void of any industry mongrel pulling on her strings like a marionette, which is ironically the premise behind Stuff’s “Elmo.”
Regardless, with this album she went solo. No record label, no manager, no critic. This freedom granted her the mobility to write, orchestrate, and perform on her own accord. Having been touted as a Canadian great, she has achieved numerous accolades: a JUNO Award and gold and platinum albums. She also has bragging rights by helping write songs for other musicians and fully embraces her Metris heritage: headlining at Aboriginal events like National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in Calgary in 2004 and the Celebration of Aboriginal Canadian Women in 2008.
Run Baby Run blends fire and water. The first track, “Alone’s Just Fine,” is an entrance into a complicated women’s soul: she didn’t put up any walls writing this album, but also managed to avoid harsh self-criticism which has been her nature in the past. She’s okay with being alone, which is hard for some people to bear or accept, but Holly, it’s A-OK with it.
“Hold on for nothing
Wash away my sins
I hate to be alone sometimes
But sometimes alone’s just fine.”
“Dig A Little” is another McNarland classic: a strong, feisty chorus, bellowing with passion and intensity, yet alluding to sweet, sensitive verses.
The striking feature with this album, is honest and straight-forward song-writing, but with a very complex woman behind the microphone and lead guitar. McNarland was completely open with reconnecting with her fans and allowed listeners to attest to their favourite McNarland tune, through a contest that ended earlier May 20.
This album has a slight country sound, but with rock elements infused throughout. Just when you expect a fading dynamic, McNarland pounces back with fortitude. One small suggestion, however, would be to have included some alt-rock sounds that made her synonymous with early female rock and stayed true to her steadfast roots.
-Jaymin Proulx, Lithium Magazine