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Mike Ireland and Holler

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Mike Ireland is a happy guy. And, oddly enough, this will probably comes as something of a surprise to some of his fans, who perhaps have a mental picture of him as mopey, bitter and angry. Given the evidence, it's easy to understand why. Ireland's 1998 debut, "Learning How to Live," was easily one of the angriest debuts from a country artist in recent memory, even kicking off with a number ("House of Secrets") in which the singer burns down his old house while his ex-wife and her new lover are still inside. "It's amazing," says Ireland four years after the album's release. "When I look back I think,'Wow, I was really angry.'"  ...
Learning How to Live" is not just the title track but the predominant theme on Mike Ireland and Holler's Sub Pop album debut. Songwriter Ireland takes us on an emotional journey that progresses from despair to acceptance. His skill at creating such powerful traditional country music would suggest that Ireland had grown up an avid country fan. In fact, the appreciation for country music is a fairly recent development in Ireland's musical evolution. "It was around a lot," says Ireland. "I was particularly exposed to the crossover stuff of the late Sixties and early Seventies. But as a kid, I wanted nothing to do with it."  ...

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