Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors are ready to bring a little sweetness into your life. They have done it before with past releases, but this time, we might just need it more. On their latest record, Souvenir, Holcomb and his band are finding the love and light wherever they can, enjoying life’s simple pleasures and making peace with not being able to control every little thing. Souvenir is sunny and warm, an escape to some place fresher and easier.
Holcomb’s voice is clear and soothing, whether he’s imparting some wisdom or making love on a beach somewhere. Souvenir is bookended this way, with “The Morning Song” at the top and “Wild World” closing it out. Both find Holcomb learning to live in the present and putting things in perspective. “The Morning Song” is physical and intimate with Holcomb fantasizing about leaving his responsibilities behind for more time with a lover, while “Wild World” (not a Cat Stevens cover, but definitely inspired by the original) is headier. In the beginning of this song, we hear a distant siren before a soft, quiet acoustic guitar kicks in, a literal reminder of the crazy world outside our walls. Holcomb sings, “It’s a wild world/We’re all trying to find our place in it…Love is all I’ve got to give away.” This is his peaceful protest song. Love everyone, no matter what. Accept our differences and embrace them. We’re all connected.
Between these two beauties, Holcomb crafts compact, twangy folk-pop songs, like the loving tribute “Mama’s Sunshine” and the vivid, dreamy memory “Yellow Rose of Santa Fe.” Souvenir is an earthy, feel-good record about finding common ground and keeping yourself grounded, and it further solidifies Holcomb as a stellar songwriter.