At the tail end of last summer, pianist Holly Bowling embarked on one of the most innovative tours of the socially-distanced age with The Wilderness Sessions. The six-week tour, which was eventually extended another five weeks, saw the Ghost Light keyboardist perform crowd-less livestreams from breathtaking locations from coast to coast across the United States. On Thursday, Holly Bowling released audio of the first stop on The Wilderness Sessions, Lake Tahoe, on Bandcamp and announced the rollout of soundboards from the entire tour.
Each week will see Bowling upload another week of The Wilderness Sessions performances to her Bandcamp page on Thursday at noon ET. The shows will run in the chronological order of the tour, with her 9/10/20 stream from Yosemite National Park coming next week.
The stream that opened the tour saw Bowling deliver an hour-long set of four unique songs by the Grateful Dead and Phish. These performances featured Bowling’s transcriptions of the music performed by the entire band transposed to the piano as her keyboard became the sole voice speaking for all.
Opening up with a 15-minute “Lost Sailor”, she then transitioned into the slow build of “Piper”. After a brief reprise of “Lost Sailor”, it was time for the song’s eternal partner of “Saint of Circumstance” before wrapping the show with a fitting “Squirming Coil” that still allowed for the traditional walk-off piano solo, despite the fact that the entire stream was a solo piano.
Related: Holly Bowling Finds A Change Of Scenery With The ‘Wilderness Sessions’ [Interview]
Bowling told Live For Live Music of The Wilderness Sessions concept,
So it’s been sort of swapping the inspiration and energy that comes from the exchange between the crowd and the performer at a show with inspiration that’s coming from all these crazy places that are pretty out there and many of which were new to me. So it’s kind of trying to pull energy from something else.
Stream the first installment of Holly Bowling’s The Wilderness Sessions on Bandcamp now. The shows are also still available on Bowling’s YouTube channel if you desire the full audiovisual experience.
Holly Bowling – The Wilderness Sessions – Lake Tahoe, CA – 9/3/20
[Video: Holly Bowling]