Folk Musician Kelly Mulhollan Headlines Monthly Nightbird Event

Folk Musician Kelly Mulhollan Headlines Monthly Nightbird Event
Mulhollan Pic

Courtesy Photo
Kelly Mulhollan, of Still on the Hill, will be July’s featured writer for the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective, Tuesday, July 26 at Nightbird Books.

Known far and wide for his work with prolific folk music duo Still on the Hill, Kelly Mulhollan will celebrate a different talent, that of author, when he takes the podium Tuesday evening, July 26 at Nightbird Books.

Mulhollan will read from “True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley.” Published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2015, Mulhollan’s text and associated photographs tell the amazing story of primitive Ozarks musician and guitar maker Ed Stilley.

Famous for reading nothing but the Bible, Stilley, 86, also felt called by God to build guitars and share the magic of music by giving those instruments to children. Using simple hand tools, Stilley, who lives just outside Eureka Springs, worked for twenty five years and created over 200 instruments made from an assortment of materials — a rusty door hinge, a steak bone, a stack of dimes, springs, saw blades, pot lids, metal pipes, glass bottles, and aerosol cans. On each instrument Ed inscribed the words, “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God.”

Mulhollan has been friends with Stilley for many years, and he and wife Donna Mulhollan are co-curators for the Stilley exhibit opening in November at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream,” Mulhollan said of the Stilley book and the museum exhibit. “A mysterious force has pushed me forward on this project.”

For those of you who have come to love Mulhollan’s music, have no fear. He said he’d probably play a few tunes during his feature Tuesday night. Who knows, wife Donna might even join in.

The July 26 event begins at 7 p.m. sharp and is free to the public. An open mic will take place before and after Mulhollan is featured.

Mulhollan is a fifth generation native Arkansas and a lifelong musician. At nine years old, Mulhollan took on the ukulele like a fish takes to water. Self-taught from the start, he soon turned to the guitar and banjo under the influence of folks like Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Don Mclean, Kris Kristofferson, and whatever else he could glean from the family’s record collection.

As a teenager, Mulhollan branched out into classical guitar and electric guitar. He immersed himself in what is now called ‘progressive rock’ as well as classical musical for years until he felt pulled to return to his folk roots.

After stints in Oklahoma, California, and Arizona, Mulhollan returned to Arkansas in search of what constitutes ‘folk art’ and ‘folk music’ in our confusing, media-driven world. Feeling the forces of homogenization taking hold on his precious Ozark home, he began searching for the remnants of remaining Ozark culture.

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