Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors – Top 5

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Been wondering lately how the Americana scene is looking out around Nashville direction?

This piece from Drew Holcomb puts some nice perspective on it.

Drew and band play The White Horse in Ballincollig (just outside Cork city) on Jan 26 as part of the Ballincollig Winter Music Festival.

Full Irish/UK tour dates on www.drewholcomb.com

1. Neil Young – Unknown Legend

Neil Young probably puts together a classic song better than Dylan. Dylan has a lot more of them, but Neil Young’s top 3 or 4 songs beat out Dylan’s in my opinion.

This song starts with my favorite lyrics about a woman I have ever heard.

“She used to work in a diner, never saw a woman look finer. I used to order just to watch her float across the floor.”

That’s a novel in about 25 words.

2. Lucero – Nobody’s Darlings

This is a great southern punk country band from my hometown of Memphis. When I was 16 I used to sneak in to see them play shows at a grungy club called the Hi Tone that ended being the room I really started my career out of 4 or 5 years later. Great songwriters, underdogs. Never had a hit song but have made a great career in the last 20 years touring incessantly and continually writing music that finds a home.


3. Will Hoge – Even If It Breaks Your Heart

Will is one of my good friends and talented songwriter/singer/performer. This is a song about why us songwriting performers do what we do: because we have to. Every time I hear Will sing this song, either live or on the record, it gives me hope that folks like him and me can keep making art and touring and help other people make sense of their lives.

4. Patty Griffin – Mary

Patty Griffin means a lot to me and my wife. Her music was one of the things that connected us emotionally. She sings about sadness with resolve, without pity. She sings about heartache without losing hope.

This song is a tribute to her hardworking grandmother. Ellie and I’s first date was her show at the Ryman in Nashville. To start your life together with somebody listening to Patty sing about the realities, good and bad, of life and love was a great place to start.

5. U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name

I don’t how the Irish feel about U2, but a whole lot of us Americans love them. They are in a category where I don’t think I need to explain why I like them or what they mean. But this song is like Part 2 of John Lennon’s “Imagine” to me.

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors play The White Horse, Ballincollig, Co Cork, Jan 26

Some artists are able to articulate a vision at the very beginning of their career, while others hone their craft over time, growing into their vision as they mature.

“I am definitely in the latter category,” explains Drew Holcomb, a Tennessee-born, bourbon drinking, 1st edition book collecting, golf playing Eagle Scout with a Masters degree in Divinity from Scotland’s University of St Andrews (he wrote his dissertation on “Springsteen and American Redemptive Imagination”), who has spent the better part of the past decade as a professional musician – recording, writing, and touring with his band Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors.

Since releasing their first album, 2005’s Washed In Blue, Drew & The Neighbors (Ellie Holcomb, Nathan Dugger, Rich Brinsfield) have established themselves as a formidable indie act, selling more than 75,000 records, playing more than 1,500 live dates, selling-out headline shows, and touring alongside such varied acts as The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Los Lobos, NEEDTOBREATHE, Susan Tedeschi, North Mississippi Allstars, Marc Broussard, and more. Their songs have been featured in countless US television shows including House, Justified and Nashville.

The hard work has paid off with the band’s sixth album Good Light (2013) showcasing Drew’s signature brand of singer/songwriter Americana in its finest form yet. Recorded live at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Good Light arrived shortly following the birth of Drew’s first child, daughter Emmylou, with wife and band-mate Ellie Holcomb. “I think about my daughter every time I sing the title track, how I want to sing it over her when she is old enough to start understanding the world of truth and consequence,” says the Memphis native who now calls Nashville home.

Drawing from personal experience to craft songs that speak to all of us, Drew explores the universal need to find meaning and joy in the midst of heartbreak and disappointment throughout Good Light. The last song on the album ‘Tomorrow’ opens with the lyric, ‘Nothing ever turns out like you thought it would.’ It’s a theme that permeates the album.

“I have been through really difficult things”, Drew continues. “When I was 17, I lost my younger brother, and have lived through the grief of that great absence. On the other hand, I have experienced the joy of being married to the girl I always wanted, and have been loved really well by her…Everyone has all these different ingredients; our geography, our family, our interests, the places we have been and the places we long to see, the loves we have found and the loves we have lost. Each of us has a story, and it’s the only one we can tell. With this album I’m telling my story, in the hope that it helps other people tell theirs.”

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Editors:
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Graham Lynch