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Peace Becomes You

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by John Malkin

Holly Near
Calico Tracks Music

Holly Near is a lovely example of a musical artist who balances personal creativity with a sense of compassion and justice. On her new double CD, Peace Becomes You, she sings passionately and honestly about the power of community and the obstacles we face today in creating a harmonious world. Racism, war, poverty, and the injustice of the justice system all show up on this new album.

Peace Becomes You features 22 musicians and vocalists, including guest artists like guitarist Alex de Grassi and longtime bandmates like pianist John Bucchino. One of my favorite cuts is “Here Comes the Hard Part,” with vocal percussion and smooth harmonies—and wake-up lyrics: “People do the impossible, and history has shown / the impossible becomes the probable / change crashes through the door.”

Peace Becomes You offers a diverse mix of original tunes, traditional African American spirituals and cover versions of songs from Hollywood musicals like “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” written by Irving Berlin in 1936. Placed within the political context of the CD, these tunes take on new meaning. Respects are also paid to the Occupy movement by Near, whose early activism included protesting military recruiters at her high school.

There’s a sense of joy and optimism through Peace Becomes You and a reminder that “we’ve come a long way.” The two-disc set finishes with a reprise of the title cut and Near singing, “Peace / let’s give it one more try.”

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