Pinning down Dale Hollow is not an easy task, but I suppose the word that would encompass him best is ~performance~. He is, to his core, a performer – from an articulate, singular vernacular punctuated by a southern twang, to his dry sense of humor upon which his image seems to be based, his ability to fully “manifest” his brand is truly unique.
A fascinating combination of performance and purveyed authenticity – which couldn’t necessarily be called vulnerability – and a business-focused mindset coupled with innate benevolence. It is hard to tell where the man ends and the artist begins, or as Hollow describes:
“Whether [my brand] is inflated or deflated is left for the reader to decipher. Yours truly has always believed that it’s up to nobody but myself to be successful…
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the term ‘manifesting’ – so I figure why not manifest being the greatest country music singer of all time by coming out and just saying ‘I’m the greatest’ – I don’t think anyone has ever outright claimed to be the best. Outside of Muhammed Ali, I think I’m the first person to stake that claim in country music.”
Self-aggrandizing yet humanized by a hint of deprecation, Hollow is a sophisticated expression of dichotomy.
“I name-check myself with Muhammed Ali…I mean, it’s a little bit of humility for myself – I could have said ‘Jesus’ or ‘Ghandi,’ but I picked a very influential sports figure and human rights activist.”
He claims that Rolling Stone Country can be quoted as calling him “relentlessly entertaining,” and “despite all of my wishes and beliefs, my life is not the Truman Show, at least not yet.”
Despite these bold claims, he states that his aspirations merely encompass “just trying to connect with the Hollow Head’s out there. I’m trying to always be kind and accepting to all those folks who stumble across yours truly’s little front porch of the internet.”
A multi-faceted combination of self-interest and altruism, Hollow claims that “a narcissist always knows how to avoid seeming like a narcissist,” and that “what you consider to be ‘interests,’ I consider ‘business ventures.’
I am in the business of making money – the more money I can make, the better I am. I was in an internet cafe one time a few years back, and I was reading about the music industry, and something in the article said that the most profitable music, in the digital space, is country music.
Country music is the best music for making money, and that’s why yours truly makes the best country music.”
Within the same five minutes, he jokes, “I’ve got $35,000 in unpaid back taxes, and that’s always a pain in the butt, but you know, someone’s gotta do it. If that country music doesn’t work out as planned, maybe I’ll go spend some time up in Canada or maybe Mexico. Somewhere where those IRS bloodhounds won’t be breathing down my neck.”
When questioned about the artistic value of music and creativity he states, “for your’s truly, what brings me the most joy and creative fervor is going to be whatever seems to be trending, and as of late it’s been country music. I am not one to knock anyone’s artistic…let’s call it pursuits, and beliefs, and inspirations.
Far be it for me to tell anybody that what they’re doing is not a beautiful thing. If it makes them feel alive, feel purpose, and feel seen in one way or another – if you find beauty in something, that is art to me.”
He was simultaneously able to highlight his consistent focus on equality – “I don’t claim to be a human rights activist, but I do claim that everyone deserves a bit of love and acceptance, no matter what their situation, generation, orientation, or financial constitution may be. Everybody deserves to be accepted for who they are.
Ultimately, the idea is that it’s not yours truly’s place to make anyone feel less than comfortable or safe being who they are, as long as they’re not acting with malicious intent.
If they are looking to harm, or belittle, or demean, or denigrate anyone for just being themselves, well then they’ve got an enemy in yours truly. I claim to be a champion in every sense of the term, I suppose.”
“There’s a lot of very worthy causes, and it’s not my place to stand in the way of any one cause, or to lift one above the other, but I’m a big believer that we should be accepting of all walks of life. There’s a lot of systemic racism, a lot of injustices to transgender friends, to the LGBTQIA+ community.
There are some truly horrific bills being passed – locally and federally – Tennessee included. There’s a lot of communities that need support, and your’s truly tries to bring awareness where I can.
My standing is that there’s a lot for your’s truly to still learn. I’m doing my best to champion all causes that protect the rights of human beings everywhere. The organizations I like to highlight specifically are the Tennessee Equality Project, Gideon’s Army, and Sage to Saddle.”
Despite his particular stance on country music as a cash cow, he also taps into the heart of the genre – “your’s truly likes to be as honest as possible when it comes to songwriting. ‘They’re only words unless they’re true.’ They say that country music is three chords and the truth. If that’s the case, then your’s truly’s music is drenched like mud on a boot.”
“A lot of times yours truly just writes about things that all of us can know. I have a song called ‘It’s Always Good To Tell Someone You Love ‘Em’ – even if they might not love you back, you’re being open and vulnerable.
I’ve also written a song about faking deaths to get out of relationships – I mean who hasn’t done that? You’ve also got age old adages such as betting on sports and coming up short, and the sort of repercussions that has on one’s life.”
At the end of the day, those who inspire him are those who remain true to themselves while concurrently being able to communicate emotion onstage – “they’re vulnerable, they’re honest, they’re truthful. They sing from the heart. Folks like Cat Power, Charlie Pride. Robyn, are huge influences for yours truly. My dear close personal lifelong friend and sometimes associate Orville Peck.
My dear friend Nightingail, who is a fantastic songwriter, performer, singer. They make sure they maintain their own personal truths in their songs, whether they inflate or deflate it, but at its core it’s uniquely them.
Anybody who is not only able to vocally imbue empathy, sympathy or pain, and simultaneously also be able to command a stage as an individual person – those artists are very few and far between in yours truly’s opinion.”
Careful to give credit where it is due, Hollow named each member of the band, meticulously making sure that all their names were spelled correctly.
“As far as the songs are concerned, most folks would know of yours truly’s music as being myself and my fabulous backing band, ‘The Long Con,’ which is comprised of Chris Winfree, Mr. Dalton Smith, John Paterini – John is actually editing and doing set design for this particular Josh’s house. Those three are ‘The Long Con,’ in addition to Marc Whitenore, who’s worked with Jessy Wilson, the Black Keys, and John Baptiste – he’s the producer of it all.”
“It all” refers to his upcoming project, which they will be recording starting this month – “let’s say that they’ll be more emblematic of what yours truly is capable of.
At the end of the day, Dale Hollow is a truly fascinating combination of contrasts, traits that lend him just the right amount of enigma and accessibility. I know I certainly will be keeping track of country music’s “up and coming superstar.”
Favorite fashion trend that probably shouldn’t exist?
Back in the mid 2000s there was a type of “sweatband” that looked like a regular athletic sports headband that you might see at any type of sporting event. There’s a band that goes over the middle. I can’t remember what they’re called but I love them.