Friday, August 14, 2009

Reviews:: Malcolm Holcombe For the Mission Baby

There are very few artists that I love enough to check websites/myspace/twitter, hoping for any insight about upcoming releases. Ironically, one of the few people I cyber stalk, is a man that probably could care less about the internet or keeping his fans current. Malcolm Holcombe has been making music for 30+ years with a gravelly voice as worn as the tires on an old rusted out pickup truck.

Honestly, probably nothing about his americana song writing will ever reach out to a wide audience, but I think he's ok with that. Throw in the fact he’s on a label – Echo Mountain – that truly seems to care more about getting great music out to the public than flooding publications with PR hype hoping to rake in big bags of dollars from sales and commercial placements, and it's easy to see why this talent is so under appreciated. We have little pull when it comes to making artists famous, but maybe if we take the time to talk about him, you will take the time to listen and discover a truly fantastic artist.

When we last heard from Malcolm (Gamblin’ House - review), I was blown away by how easily he spun spun tales and still kept your toes tapping. With deft picking an old soul and a broken heart, you felt like Holcombe saddled up to the stool beside you at the local pub and just started talking. Not much about Malcolm has changed with the release of For the Mission Baby. If pressed, I’d guess he mutter something about old dogs and new tricks but thanks to the help of Ray Kennedy’s production, every note on the new record sounds the way Holcombe intended.

Starting with the stomp a hole in the floor beat of Bigtime Blues, Holcombe gives his fans another trip back in time to the mountains of North Carolina, but he and his band also offer up new textures and a bigger sound. Tim O’Brien’s mandolin, Jared Tyler’s dobro, a nice rhythm section and some terrific backing vocals, For the Mission Baby just seems like a fuller effort. As you embrace the groove they find on A Bigger Plan, the humor and swing of Soul Street Blues or the tenderness he fuses into the gentle picks of Another One Gone (the strings are great) and the Waits-y Straight and Tall, it becomes obvious For the Mission Baby is the record Holcombe was meant to put out.

To be fair, Malcolm is an artist I’d listen to and rave about, even if I wasn’t a blogger, but he’s blown me away with this record. I could listen to the summery title track or the simple strums and keep time beat of Doncha Miss That Water for hours, driving out of the city just to watch the odometer turn, but every song on the record showcases a new depth of sound and emotion. If you are a fan of mountain blues, dark country and americana, I there's no artist I could recommend more.

MP3:: Malcolm Holcombe - Bigtime Blues

Labels: , , ,

Posted at 8:07 AM by ack :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Post a Comment