Soulful, introspective Americana and a voice of an angel
I should start by apologizing to Drew Holcomb for taking so long to review his album; but I found it dull at first; then a couple of songs eventually took my attention and now I think it’s in the running for my album of the year!
There is a melancholic 1970’s feel to opener Another Man’s Shoes; but even on first listening I thought this song stood out like a beacon as Holcomb uses great subtlety and clever lyrics to tell the listener that ‘things could be worse;’ which wasn’t what I wanted to hear when I first received the album; as I was in a very dark place at the time.
It’s all too easy to delve into the cliché box when reviewing albums; but I can’t help but compare parts of this album to Leonard Cohen and even early period Elton John in some of the structures and melodies; with You Can’t Take it With You and Tomorrow being the best examples.
Not every track is ‘deep and meaningful’ – I Love You I Do has a delightful Calypso beat to the melody and Nothing Like a Woman is a good old fashioned Indie Rocker that the Drive-By Truckers would have been proud of; leaving me in no doubt that Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors will be an emotional Roller-coaster ride of a live show.
The cornerstone to the album and the main reason it has taken to put pen to paper is the track Tennessee. As I sit here on a grey, damp Autumn day in Northern England my view of Tennessee is a colourful, vibrant State basking all year round in sunshine; but Holcomb performs a potent dirge like song that annoyed me for several weeks until one day ‘the penny dropped’ and I realised that this is a man’s love song to the place of his birth; and the chorus of ‘To Tennessee/I was born and raised here/and I’ll make my grave here/it’s home’ could just as easily have been about Tyneside, Dordogne or Moscow as the sentiment will apply to anyone who leaves their home to town to seek fame, fortune and/or love but the strings always pull you back home.
I’m pleased I didn’t make a rash judgement on this album; because it’s a keeper.