Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reviews:: Malcolm Holcombe Gamblin' House

There is something about a voice worn hoarse by countless glasses of brown, smokes and a soul that has been tattered by hardship. That simple, timeless combination gets me every time, but even saying that, Malcolm Holcombe is something special.

He's been making music forever, and sadly I'm very new to his songs because I feel like I've missed out on something special. Gamblin' House is about to be released on Echo Mountain records, and after sifting through way too many lists and the December lull, Holcombe's gritty melodies show as much promise as the countless resolutions we all make. The record flows perfectly, balancing ear pleasing ballads, roots and blues.

Holcombe has all the gifts a story teller needs. His stories are strangely beautiful, like a rusted out car or an abandoned house and his voice is a perfect mix of power and sensitivity and it's that personality that keeps me listening. He has the charisma of a cagey grandpa, one who talks in slogans and sayings ("money talks and bullshit" walks or "that ole big dog is hungry") and draws you in with the familiarity of his tales. It doesn't matter if they are true or you've heard them all 100 times, because you want to believe what he says and know that the telling of the story is the most important part. He squeezes every once of emotion out of every song, but balances his gravelly voice and depression with delicate instrumentation (the fiddle and dobro work on I'd Rather Have A Home) and harmonies (My Ol' Radio).

He sings with equal parts rage, regret and defeat. He can sing about something as simple the radio or as painful as refusing to stop loving someone and you just feel his emotion like it came from inside you. On the beautiful From Lovin' You, Holcombe looks past the faults, the lies, even past the truth. We've all been there and we've all heard songs about it, but for some reason his story sounds different. I could try and try to describe this record, but I don't think I'd do it justice. Instead I'll just make note of the simple beauty of Holcombe in a single lyric, "I chain-smoke and complain, feeling broke inside." I can't describe his sound, his voice and his pain any better.

MP3:: You Don't Come See Me Anymore

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Posted at 4:25 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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