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article imageInterview with SHEL's Eva Holbrook Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 17, 2014 in Music
SHEL, a band made up of four very talented sisters from Colorado, recently popped up on the soundtrack to a major motion picture. Digital Journal chats to their charming lead singer about what could well be their ticket to stardom.
Hailing from Ft. Collins, Colorado, Sarah (vocals, bass and fiddle), Hannah (vocals, accordion and keyboards), Eva (lead vocals, guitar, banjo, cello and mandolin) and Liza (percussion) Holbrook are SHEL, a classically trained alternative folk/Americana quartet who have been performing together professionally for the last nine years.
Songs attributed to the sassy sisters, who grew up in a musical household (their father Andrew is a professional musician), have appeared on various TV shows since then, and this year, a tune written by Eva and Irish singer-songwriter Gareth Dunlop was chosen for the soundtrack to the feature film The Best of Me, starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan.
Entitled "Hold On" (a beautiful accompanying video was shot at Wyatt Hall in Franklin, Tennessee) this touching ballad packs a punch, emotionally and more than holds its own alongside contributions from the likes of Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Thomas Rhett, Kacey Musgraves and Kip Moore.
"Well it was kind of a funny situation..." begins Eva, reflecting on how the track came to be written. "We'd both been writing on our own that day and hadn't had anything good come from it. We were staying at the same house and I hadn't ever really spent much time talking to Gareth...
"I always really liked his work, but he sort of intimidated me, like a big brother - I didn't want to annoy him. He asked me how my day was and I told him and he said he'd gone through the same thing.
"So we walked downtown and got some ice-cream and we were talking about it, this writer's block phenomenon that happens sometimes, and he suggested rather than ending the day on an unproductive note, we'd go back to the house and try to write something together, so we did and the song just kind of fell out."
"I've never written a song that fast before, actually," continues the stylish songbird, blessed with a an angelic singing voice perfectly suited to her chosen genre, "and part of that was definitely because anywhere where I got stuck, Gareth wouldn't allow it. He was like, 'No, no, we'll go through', so we persevered...
"On that walk we'd been talking a lot about his family in Ireland and how he misses them and so, subconsciously, I feel like a lot of that came out in the song. When I look back now and I think about it, I'm like, 'Yeah, it was kind of about him and his family' - at least for me, although I ended up writing most of the guy's parts and he ended up writing most of the girl's parts!"
"He lives in Ireland, but we both work in Nashville with the same publishing company," adds Eva, providing a little bit of an insight into how the pair first met.
The Best of Me is a love story based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, the writer responsible for The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe. How did the song end up on the movie soundtrack?
"It happened really quickly," replies the seemingly very sensitive, softly-spoken soul, whose Twitter page describes her as a "pioneer of the imagination."
"I got a call a couple of weeks after it was written from my publisher saying that the director had picked it out of a sampler that was sent to them, and it was like the 'anchor piece' for their soundtrack.
"When you get news like that, you usually don't get excited right off the bat because anything could happen and another song could come in and bump it out...
"But over the months it stayed and then we got the confirmation that it would be in the film and that they'd also like to include it in the soundtrack - and we were just thrilled."
The Best of Me is out now at selected cinemas across the US.
The soundtrack is available on iTunes.
For more information on Eva Holbrook and SHEL, visit their official website.
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