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In a burst of self-esteem unusual among local singer/songwriters, Hyattsville’s Bill Holland has released Players, Fools & Thieves, a “songbook” collection that channels his compositions through a variety of voices and instruments. Pianist Holland, who made his reputation in the early ’70s as a founding Nighthawk and later as the leader of Rent’s Due, has a deft touch with a lyric and an ear for the quirky melody, so—naturally—he soon found himself plugging not songs but stories, in his guise as D.C. bureau chief for Billboard. After more than a decade of disuse, however, his piano came back to life, and he began performing in joints around town. The task of assembling quartets and quintets regenerated his connections with musicians and singers across the area’s pop and jazz spectrum. The result is Players—a handsomely designed and appealingly recorded assortment of ballads, funk, and asphalt rockers. The music features a plethora of local heroes and heroines, with Holland popping in like a chef checking the temperature and spicing a multicourse meal. The disc is available from Dutch Treat Records, 4704 40th Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20781.