Singer/songwriter/bassist Mike Ireland leads the band Holler, which released its debut album, Learning to Live, on the Sub Pop label in 1998. Ireland recalls thinking that country music was uncool and exaggerated as a child in Missouri. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, and for eight years, while he got undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education and English literature, he played in the band And How. When college ended, the band broke up, and Ireland went home to Kansas City to get married and get a job. But an impromptu performance with two old bandmembers at his own wedding reception led him back to music. The friends soon formed the Starkweathers, an alternative country band. When Jonathan Poneman, the CEO of Sub Pop, heard the band's five-song EP in 1994, he came to a Starkweathers show in Lawrence, KS. He offered to release a single, and Ireland quit his day job teaching English composition so that he could focus on the band. But in October 1995, Ireland found out that the lead singer was having an affair with his wife, and both the band and his marriage broke up. He began writing dark, despairing songs, first in the country-rock style of the Starkweathers and then in the countrypolitan sound of the mid-'60s. As it turned out, the most impressive part of the Starkweathers to Poneman was Ireland's voice, so he signed him as a solo artist. Ireland asked brothers and former Starkweathers members Mike (guitar) and Paul Lemon (drums) to join him, and Dan Mesh won the audition for rhythm guitar. They called the band Holler and released many of Ireland's post-breakup songs on their debut album. ~ Brian WahlertPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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