Holly Bowling • Isis Music Hall • April 2, 2017

Holly Bowling plays the songs of the Grateful Dead and Phish on piano, often combining the two.  In addition to traditional playing, Holly explores unconventional parts of the piano to create original experimental sounds and landscapes. The instrument is opened up with all working parts exposed. At times she uses a small wand in the upper sections, and later a string which turns the piano into a violin at the base. Bowling has the knowledge to combine full band Dead and Phish song compositions, into a stripped-down medium without losing any emotion, only adding more love to the music. Everyone had tears pouring down their face at one point or another. The “Wharf Rat” really got me good. Our memories of Jerry, the Dead and that feeling you got when they came to town are ingrained within, and a lot of us really miss the good ol’ days. It feels good to reflect while these piano compositions are flowing and layered up into the air. Husband and tour manager, Jeffrey Bowling, does an amazing job projecting fluid water themes, rays of light and other psychedelic effects over a video screen close-up of Holly’s keys. Part of the fun of this concert experience is guessing what song is being played. We recognize the music, but then have to marry the lyrics in our heads in order to solve the puzzle,  it becomes a really fun game. Sometimes the teases are over before we can realize which of the 100’s of Dead and Phish songs we are inside of, other times it’s our favorite songs which we know immediately by the opening notes. The show features endless segues and combinations of songs. Highlights for me were: Free > Estimated > Free; Wharf Rat; China Cat > Taste > Cryptical > Other One > Piper > Rockets > Other One > Cryptical > Rider…Let’s face it, the entire show was brilliant. This is the 3rd time I have seen Bowling play, and we will be back. Thank You!

– Joshua Marc Levy, Asheville Art Family

Photography By Libby Gamble Photography

Unbroken Chain
Sage& Spirit
Free >
Estimated >
Wharf Rat >
China Cat >
Cryptical Envelopment >
The Other One >
Piper >
Rocket’s Theme >
The Other One >
Cryptical Envelopment >
I Know You Rider
E: Cassidy >
Squirming Coil (with Cassidy teases)