Holly Near is no ordinary performer. After nearly 20 years, she has found a place as a respected singer. Near does more than just sing _ she writes her own songs, is an activist, an actress and owns her own recording company, Redwood Records. Now she's written an autobiography chronicling her busy and interesting life, Fire in the Rain, Singer in the Storm. Saturday, local fans will be able to hear Near when she appears in a WMNF concert at the Friday Morning Musicale, 809 Horatio St. in Tampa's Old Hyde Park.
Near, who has 15 albums to her name (her latest is Singer in the Storm), has never compromised her style for commercial success and has retained her integrity through many musical trends.
She began acting at 7 and went on to appear in various TV shows such as The Mod Squad, Room 222 and All In The Family in the early '70s. But in 1971, when Near became involved in protesting the Vietnam War, her career took a sharp turn and she decided to become a full-time singer.
Since then she has performed at major concert venues in the United States, such as Carnegie and Avery Fisher halls, and on bills with singers such as Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. One of her most well-received tours was with Ronnie Gilbert (formerly of the Weavers), whom Near persuaded to come out of retirement.
Near's powerful voice can pound out blues or sail into a clear soprano. It's always used effectively in her songs that address political problems.
In 1985 she was named one of Ms. Magazine's Women of the Year, nominated for creativity as a composer, performer, and lyricist; as a cultural worker for peace and justice; and as a woman who lives the message she teaches.
The Friday Morning Musicale provides a pleasant, intimate venue for Near. She can be unpredictable, and it's anyone's guess what she'll sing.
- Holly Near will be at the Friday Morning Musicale, 809 Horatio St. in Tampa on Saturday. 9 p.m. show is sold out, but second show has been added at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 the day of the show. Call 238-8001.