Keith Talley and Jack "Flute" Holland perform as Crazy Flute during a Fathers' Day powwoe in Dickson County, Tennessee.

Just a few years ago, Jack "Flute" Holland was defiantly uninterested in his Native American heritage and everything that went with it. A self-described contrarian, Holland is quick to admit that it is his nature to do the opposite of just about anything that he is told or expected to do.

So, when his father and grandfather tried to share their Native American heritage with him, he rebelled, choosing instead to get into heavy metal music and mixed martial arts and cage fighting. It was more a personality thing than a heritage thing, he says.

Which makes it even more interesting that today he is an award-winning flute player who has recorded two albums full of original Native American music with his band, Crazy Flute.

To vote

To vote in the Native American Music Awards:

Voting ends at noon on Oct. 12.You will need to register and vote in each category for your ballot to be counted. Crazy Flute is in categories 7, 16, and 27.

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"We got a win for Best Contemporary Song at the Indian Summer Music Awards [earlier in September] in Wisconsin and we just found out we got three award nominations for the Native American Music Awards again this year," he says.

Their latest CD, "Tribal Groove," has earned six total nominations and one win over three different awards shows in total. They were nominated for a NAMA award last year for Best Debut Duo/Group of the Year with the release of their debut "Echoes From the Mountain."

Holland, who his friends call Flute, records and performs with longtime friend Keith Talley, who plays percussion. Both are 46 years old and while Talley has played music for much longer, the two are learning to play Native American music together.

Native American music is an umbrella term under which fall just about every genre of music.

"There are 36 categories at the Native American Music Awards, for example," Holland says.

"There is everything from Native American heavy metal to rap to traditional to spoken word."

Fans select the NAMA winners through an online vote (see box), and the awards gala will take place Oct. 12 in Niagara Falls, New York.

The more that he explores his culture and the music, Holland says his own songs have lately leaned a little more toward traditional Native American flute and percussion music. You can see an interview and performance on the Times Free Press Facebook page.

Holland gives much of the credit for his musical success to his wife Dana Holdren, who he says saw the raw talent he had and suggested he pursue music further. As is his nature, he resisted at first, but she won him over with three words that touched his heart.

"She said, 'You're an idiot.'"

Holden chuckles at the comment.

"I was right," she says.

And, he has the awards and honors to prove it.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.