Holly Golightly and Crawling Kingsnakes at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Sunday (November 28). $10.50. 416-598-4753.
Since her star-making cameo on the White Stripes' Elephant (V2) disc, Holly Golightly has zoomed to such unprecedented popularity for a cheeky Brit garage rock chick that she now finds herself being quizzed on Breakfast At Tiffany's by clueless CNN and GQ stringers.
It's a strange overnight-success whirlwind for an accomplished singer/songwriter who has put out 12 solo albums since leaving Thee Headcoatees in 95. Her latest, the softly sophisticated Slowly But Surely (Damaged Goods) finds the ever-charming Golightly waltzing effortlessly from soul ballads to country laments with the masterful control of a mature vocal stylist.
This is about as far as she could possibly get from a typically raucous three-chord garage barrage while still using guitars and drums. But, as with her sensuous slink through Little Willie John's My Love Is, just an upright bass and finger snaps are sufficient when you've got the pipes.
"Ooooh yes, Little Willie John," trills Golightly from a tour stop in West Virginia. "That's a song I wanted to do for ages but didn't have the confidence to tackle until this new album.
"I think what made it such a daunting proposition was that it was so stark. I'm used to doing stuff with a lot of backing vocals and overdubs, but this song had to be done with a single vocal track - there was nothing for me to hide behind. I don't think I could've done it with as much conviction even five years ago."
Although the song choices contribute significantly to the overall sombre tone of Slowly But Surely, Golightly credits resident Toe Rag Studios engineer Liam Watson - who produced the album - with the kinder, gentler approach.
Considering Watson's well-earned reputation as a noise merchant, it's a shocking revelation.
"I've done an awful lot of recording at Liam's Toe Rag Studios, so he has a very good understanding of what I want to do with my music. So as an experiment, I thought I'd let him have his way this time just to see how it would be different, and I think he made it a much gentler sounding album than it might've been.
"He wants to move in a different direction, less garage rock and more orchestral-sounding things. And he's no longer interested in recording people simply as an engineer - he'll only turn stuff out of his studio that he produces. That's the deal with Toe Rag now."
Having dumped her entire record collection some years ago - a rash move she still regrets today - Golightly finds that being on the road for long stretches provides the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of the music she's been missing while planning her next possible collaboration.
You see, for the last few years she's been recording one-off duets with friends and acquaintances, with plans for an upcoming album, although no release date has been set.
"I've been collecting these duet recordings one-by-one for a couple of years. It's a slow process because I'm trying to do the songs with people I know, so it's a matter of being in the same place at the same time. But it's definitely coming together. So far I've got six completed.
"Since I'm proposing the duet, I'm letting the other person choose the song we sing. I'm doing Lee Hazlewood's After Six with Mudhoney's Steve Turner, while Mark Arm and I did Discharge's State Violence/State Control, which actually came out sounding like an old Appalachian tune!"
The question on everyone's mind is whether she'll reprise her delightful throwdown with the man in red.
"Yes, I think Jack and I probably will do one, too. It's something that we've talked about, so it's just down to finding the right time."