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The Old Grey Whistle Test is the pseudonym for the solo musical musings of vocalist, songwriter, and frontwoman Tracey Holland.

A bit of a departure from Holland's usual role as one-half of SF's rock/soul outfit Vandella, OGWT sounds something like rock and roll dropped into a beaker-full of Nancy Sinatra-noir, Linda Perhacs' psychedelia, Stevie Nicks-mysticism, and Jenny Lewis' retro-inspired sounds set to a score of Ennio Morricone.

Having collaborated and traveled along the West Coast with her Vandella counterpart and close friend, Chris Tye, for the better part of a decade, Holland started collecting scraps of songs that didn't quite fit the bill for the band. Following a period in her life that Holland describes as “my whole existence being turned over on its head like an hourglass,” the need to fly solo for a spell became more insistent – and thus, the idea for The Old Grey Whistle Test was born. The resulting collection of songs is both more personal, and more cryptic, than anything the singer & songwriter has done previously. "Honestly, I was somewhat terrified of doing a solo record, because it lays you - and only you - pretty bare. I’d just traveled through a pretty intense personal journey of purging, and sort of rebirthing, for lack of a better term, and felt on one hand that I had so much I needed to get out, and on the other hand, fear that I was just spewing all this really personal stuff out. But ultimately, that fear is what actually pushed me towards the edge of the proverbial cliff, so to speak, as I'm a big believer in doing what scares you shitless."

That draw towards the subtler, darker aspects of life is explored throughout "Ouroboros", OGWT’s debut album. Holland digs deep and doesn’t shy away from dissecting the major themes of the record, excavating, almost cringingly at times, both internally (uncomfortable emotions, flawed personal truths, internal broken-mirrors), and externally (holding others accountable for their own smoke and mirrors). The complexities of identity, intimacy, gender, and even unseen metaphysical forces are all dragged out and sifted through – there’s an unmistakable potency and vulnerability to the record, which makes for a strange and beautiful collection of sounds and emotions.


released May 27, 2016

All songs written by Tracey Holland
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Scott McDowell at Hyde Street Studio C in SF, CA
Mastered by Jonathan Kirchner
Artwork by Yasamine June



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The Old Grey Whistle Test San Francisco, California

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Track Name: Howl
On the banks of Okeecho
They're coming in droves
They're calling for blood
They're calling for gold

And on the backs of the old
The withered, and blind
They set their stones
They set their sights

And we hang our hopes
On cumulous crowds
We close our eyes
And try to howl

And in the name of god
The Holy Ghost
You starve your crop
You sell your soul

And build around your heart
A loathsome moat
You fill it with spite
Nice and wide

And when you're stuck outside
And the ground is cold
They'll hold a light
To our fuselage bones
Track Name: Jealous Man
How many nights did we share this bed?
Half asleep, half-undressed
The scene of a crime

What you got locked-up in that drawer?
Think he's under the bed, four on the floor
This ain't no scene of a crime

Ooh, Jealous Man

How many nights we gonna stay up late?
So you can read it on my face
All you see is a crime

How many lovers do you think I take?
Half a dozen, fifty, a hundred?
Like I'm the scene of a crime

Ooh, Jealous Man
Green don't look so good on you

How many times do I have to say,
"You're my only one, my lone stallion."
My lonely stallion
Track Name: Ouroboros
Ouroboros, make me real
Ouroboros, there's wounds to heal
Round and round and round we go
Spinning wheels, it's all for show

Hammered copper, melted gold
Pour me in a caster, I will mold
Malleable, pliable, I'm marble to your touch
Just wrap me round, wrap me round your finger
I don't ask for much

I am eating my own tail
Say what you will, I don't care
In my mind's-eye you are fading
Deep-seated beliefs lie in waiting
Sucking honeysuckle from the hanging tree

If I hold a little longer,
Keep on waiting,
Would it be the thing to bring you home?
But I won't pray to a hateful god
So why bend my knees to starve off that love?

Yes, I'm angry
I am flawed
You hang your flypaper and I get caught
As if there was nothing worse for a woman to be
You say I've got too many words,
Too verbose to keep this afloat
And you, who wouldn't say shit if you had your mouth full of it

Ouroboros, make me real
Ouroboros, there's rooms to fill
Round and round and round we go
Spinning wheels til we get our fill
Track Name: Stranger
One day you love me, one day you don't
I can never tell if you will or you won't
You're like a stranger to me

I remember when it was all pressed-in-hand poems
Desperado, you were always free to go
Don't gotta be a stranger to me

And you've run me ragged, lover
From all your stagnant running
Always on the verge
Of gone

And we've known each other now
Long enough
So why you a stranger to me?

You wave me in one hand, your eyes they laugh
You got the wool pulled over mine, you work fast
And you're a stranger to me

Lead me down your primrose path
Well maybe I'm the fool who's just finding out last
That you're a stranger to me

And you've run me ragged, lover
With all your circle-running
Made a familiar friend
Of the dawn

And you fight it tooth and nail
Cause you ain't strong enough
So you're just a stranger to me
And we've been through it all, and how
It's crazy to think
That you're still a stranger to me
Track Name: Fastfoot
In my dreams, you are cold to me
Last night, you threw me off a cliff
And that's a far way to fall, from where we are
Never knew bones could shatter like that

And in a stone-walled room, you belong to me
In a stone-walled room, you belong to me still
Struck a bargain with fate, you a totem; I, your vase
I swear I'll jump if you will

But I guess forever didn't last too long
How hard is your will to break?
And how's it feel, all that wind on your jaw?
Cause I guess forever didn't last too long
No, I guess forever didn't last too long

You got a real fast foot, teeth at your heels
Plastic spurs stab at the ground
I got no porcelain cage to bound you down
So what if we both just tried to stay?

Now there's a blister of blood blooming on my skin
On that finger where I wore your ring
Is it a symbol, or test, to give up the rest?
For golden bolos, flea market promise rings
Track Name: Little Death
I've been thinking a lot about the cosmos
I've been feeling a lot like Christmas Day
Notice you're still peddling our love songs
Full of all the shit you wouldn't say

I've been thinking about last Easter
The one we spent on Tomales Bay
We got high on that fence and you said,
"it really looks more like a maze."

And we sang along to
"Two Kinds of Love"
A little foreshadowing gone wrong

We were steering straight for that little death
Turns out my sun sets in the west
You got them constellation shoulder blades
That cut into my chest

Mercury, dear departed
Saturn's made his great escape
And you lit a match in the shadows
Venus drove the getaway

And you're fixated on
Two kinds of love
I think you pegged it all wrong