Turning Phish Into Solo Piano and Alum Holly Bowling's Devotion to a Dream

Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Photo of Holly Bowling enjoying music on blue headphones

WALL STREET JOURNAL -- On July 31, 2013, Holly Bowling had a profound experience. She was at her 221st Phish concert, when the jam band, playing at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena in Nevada, opened its second set with a 37-minute version of their song “Tweezer.” “I couldn’t get it out of my head,” Bowling, 31, recalls.

But get it out of her head, she did. Bowling, a classically trained pianist with a degree in piano performance from San Francisco State University, started to meticulously transcribe and arrange the heavily improvised number, transforming it into something she could play on piano. That process took her a little over a year, and when she was done, it was time to try and perform it live. Less than a year later, Bowling is prepping her first album, Distillation of a Dream: The Music of Phish Reimagined for Solo Piano, due October 2 on Brooklyn-based indie label Royal Potato Family. The 14-song double LP features her transcriptions of Phish studio cuts and more.