Holly Golightly is probably best known as the special guest who shows up at the end of the White Stripes’ 2003 album Elephant in a duet with Jack White on “It’s True That We Love One Another.” But Golightly had a prolific career long before that and has hardly slowed down since.
The British singer, reportedly born Holly Smith, took the name of a character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1991 when she joined Thee Headcoatees, a spin-off group from Billy Childish’s garage-rock heroes Thee Headcoats. She went solo four years later and has released 14 albums over the past 13 years — not to mention many non-album singles and guest appearances on other people’s records. Over the years, Golightly has explored rock, country, and soul, but whatever she’s doing, it’s always in a quiet, down-tempo style that makes a virtue out of her voice’s limitations.
She chooses covers wisely, interpreting lesser-known works by the Kinks, Lee Hazlewood, and Ike Turner, among many others. (I am a huge Ray Davies fan, but I think I like her version of “Tell Me Now So I Know” even better than the Kinks’ original.) Remarkably, her own material fits in well alongside all these great old songs.
What’s most notable about Golightly is the fact that in her collaborations — whether it’s White, Childish, or, recently, a guy who goes by the name Lawyer Dave and performs as a one-man band called the Brokeoffs — the collaboration almost always comes across sounding like a Holly Golightly record: slow, quiet, old-fashioned, intimate, like friends hanging out. And she always sounds like the coolest person in the room.
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY, Casbah, Monday, December 1, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10 advance; $12 door.