Holly Bowling is taking her talents to the great outdoors. Ahead of her upcoming Grateful Dead album Seeking All That’s Still Unsung, the San Francisco pianist will stream weekly performances from Yosemite, the Badlands, and more. “The Wilderness Sessions” will run for six Thursday shows from September 3 to October 8.
Bowling’s “Wilderness Sessions” arrives after her last series of livestream concerts, “Alone Together: The Living Room Sessions.” In the eight-volume series, she performed Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” famously covered by Johnny Cash, as well as Radiohead’s “Idioteque.” While piano covers of songs with full bands have potential to sound bare, Bowling’s arrangements are rich and fully realized. On changing the scenery from her living room to some of America’s most iconic landscapes, Bowling says:
As grateful as I was (and still am) for that opportunity, after a few months it was starting to feel like too much staring at the same walls in the same empty room. I decided if the only option right now is to play to empty spaces, then I wanted to do that in a giant canyon or on a mountaintop in the middle of nowhere. It’s one of those things that would never have worked in normal times. But I realized there’s two ways to look at this time – you can look at all of the things we can’t do, everything we’re missing out on, everything we’ve lost… or you can find the things that you can only do now that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, and seek those things out and make them happen.
Leg One dates for “The Wilderness Sessions” include:
- September 3, Lake Tahoe, California
- September 10, Yosemite, California
- September 17, Salt Flats, Utah
- September 24, Bruneau Canyon, Idaho
- October 1, Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming
- October 8, Badlands, South Dakota
Bowling first came to prominence in 2013, when she began performing solo piano arrangements of jam band music. One performance, “The Tahoe Tweezer,” based on Phish’s lengthy “Tweezer” led to two albums: 2014’s Distillation of a Dream: The Music of Phish Reimagined For Solo Piano, and 2016’s Better Left Unsung, a collection of Grateful Dead piano covers. Bowling soon attracted the attention of several Grateful Dead members including Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Warren Haynes, and was invited to perform at Terrapin Crossroads and Haynes’ Christmas Jam.