Revisiting Hymns with Claire

Hello there! My name is Claire Holley, and I'm a singer/songwriter originally from Mississippi now living in Los Angeles. Next May will be the 20-year anniversary of the release of my CD, Sanctuary, and I'm planning to celebrate by recording another batch of hymns. This all came about from a conversation I had with my Dad in a church parking lot in the summer of 1997. He suggested the possibility of recording hymns. It wasn't so out of the blue, really: singing hymns in church was a regular part of my childhood--I loved the sound of voices blending and harmonizing. 

So I did it. I took him up on his suggestion, and one year later, began recording hymns at a studio in Durham, North Carolina. I have good memories of that time, and my Dad even made a guest appearance (if you watch the video, you'll see a photo of him doing a "sound check" and then taking a nap on the studio couch. Chamblins do love their naps). Like any creative project, though, there were ups and downs. I had issues with my voice getting strained from a lot of live recording--plus it was hard for me to accept the fact that several songs we tracked didn't even make it onto CD.  I found a letter I wrote that details some of the setbacks & challenges during that time recording (to my Dad July 11, 1998).

But what will a follow-up, 20 years later, look like? Well,  I don't know, but I'm exploring ideas for what direction to go, who to work with, and what songs to record this time around. I think it would be fun to involve some of the same people I worked with on Sanctuary,  and hopefully revisit Overdub Lane in Durham, North Carolina where I made my very first records--on analogue!

I'm wondering if you would consider helping in the process, too? I invite you to have a look around this site and see if you might want to make a contribution. By the way, I invite you to send me your song suggestions.  

thank you so much,


When does this "campaign" begin and end? I'm officially going  LIVE with the page on Feb 23, because that's the date I'll be doing a radio show (and gig) in North Carolina. But I'll be focusing the month of March on getting the word out to the rest of the world! So, in short, Feb 23rd-March 31st. 

What will the funds be used for? Mostly the funds will cover recording costs (studio time, contributing musicians, and travel expenses). In addition, funds will go toward manufacturing CDs. There is an outside chance that I would do a limited edition of vinyl (not definite) ...if enough of y'all would like that, I will consider. Will you please email me if you fall into that camp?

How soon would I need the funds?  I am hoping to raise money during the month of March in order to record this summer or fall (2018). Having several months lead time will allow me to plan accordingly. 

Will you let us know how it's going?  Yes. I will keep you up-to-date on the progress of this endeavor and, if I am fortunate enough to get to make this record, I will be transparent about the process. I love to read and watch films about how creative work gets done, but I realize that I haven't revealed a whole lot about my own process. I am trying to do better and keep in touch! 

                        A FEW NOTES ON REWARDS

*apologies for the rather generic title of “New Hymns” (since I haven't recorded anything yet, I don't really know what the title will be)


LIVE @ The Parhams w/guitar and cello (Jan 2, 2014)
11 songs from a house concert in Jackson, MS with Marcelo Vieira
Instrumentals & Film Scoring 
16 unreleased tracks from film projects and other collaborations. just instruments. no vocals 

Singles & B-Sides 
9 studio tracks (mostly unreleased)

COLOR POSTER Options (signed or unsigned)

11x17 Sanctuary CD promo photo by Michael Wilson (1999)

11x17 Self-titled promo Yep Roc Records photo by Michael Wilson (2001)

18x22  Dandelion promo Yep Roc Records photo by Michael Wilson (2003)

11x17 Hush CD  promo photo by Cathy Akers (2008) 

*please note: the Self-titled promo Yep Roc Records is the only one that I have a limited quantity of (10, that is). First come, first served.


Thanks for being interested in hosting a house concert! Generally speaking, travel is not included in the cost—so, for instance, if you want me to come play at your home in Phoenix, Arizona and I have no plans to be in Arizona, then I would ask you to pay for my travel to get there. However, if I am already going to be in the area (or within a two-hours drive from you), I am happy to play a house concert in your home without you having to pay for my travel costs. This is something we can discuss once I know more about of the specificities of your wishes.


I would discuss with you a compelling story about you or someone you love; then I would do my best to write a song inspired by that story. I would record it at home and give you a copy for your own personal use. I would maintain all rights to the song but if I were to ever put it on a record, I would put in the liner notes with your permission (for example) "inspired by Kevin Smith's labrador who chased chickens" 


 Same as above except  I would do a professional recording of the song (you and I could discuss the details, including instrumentation and production). 

To my advisory board who gave (and continue to give) helpful advice and enthusiasm: Greg Wolfe, Kelly Logue, Elizabeth Wood & Dan Steadman. Y'all are the best!

and to Beth Ann Fennelly who gave support by making annoucements to audiences across the southeast last month that this hymns project was going to happen! 


Peter Himmelman (by way of Kristin Mooney, my singing pal, who introduced me to Peter a few years ago). Peter was my cheerleader and fed me some miso soup while sharing helpful tips on doing a kickstarter. In short, he told me not to doubt myself and showed me ways to give M.A.R.V. the boot (for more info on MARV, read or listen to Peter's wonderful book, Let me out).

Cullen Douglas, who was in the room when I did the little film you see on this page. It really helped to have a nice human being in the room who smiled and said "Way to go!" or "Good job! "rather than my original plan of doing selfie videos in a room by myself.  

Kelsey Harmon, my niece who found time during her sophomore year & full life (in Argentina) to cut the little video together. 

The "anonymous" close friend and family member who made the first contribution on this page. 

My husband, Chad Holley, who gives me love and support beyond measure.

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Claire Holley 
Glendale, CA