Malcolm Holcombe - Down The River (2012) [FLAC]

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Artist: Malcolm Holcombe
Release: Down The River
Discogs: 4039721
Released: 2011
Label: Gypsy Eyes
Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Style: Folk, World, & Country, Country

Tracklisting:

01. Butcher In Town (4:26)
02. I Call The Shots (3:17)
03. Gone Away At Last (3:45)
04. The Crossing (2:59)
05. Twisted Arms (6:15)
06. The Door (3:39)
07. The Empty Jar (2:52)
08. In Your Mercy (4:26)
09. Whitewash Job (4:14)
10. Trail O' Money (3:44)
11. Down The River (4:18)

Credits: Show

Slowly but surely North Carolina bred singer and songwriter Malcolm Holcombe has carved a reputation over the years as a fine purveyor of rootsy country blues with his albums and live shows almost universally praised. Despite this he remains a bit of a hidden gem, known only to the cognoscenti but thereΓÇÖs a chance this might change with the release of this, his ninth album.

Having been on several labels (including Geffen who refused to release the album he recorded for them) heΓÇÖs self released Down The River and itΓÇÖs a measure of the respect heΓÇÖs held in that heΓÇÖs gathered a grand set of musicians to assist him. The band include Darrell Scott, Ken Coomer and Viktor Krauss while vocals are supplied by Kim Richey, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. In addition the album is produced by Steve EarleΓÇÖs sometime producer Ray Kennedy. The result is a stellar collection of songs that feature HolcombeΓÇÖs amazing growl of a voice and his deft guitar picking with truckloads of banjo, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle and Dobro backing him up. The effect is very similar to that of EarleΓÇÖs ΓÇ£come backΓÇ¥ album Train A Coming.

In addition to the excellent playing Holcombe writes with a fine sense of anger at the modern ways of the world railing against injustice but also celebrating the eternal optimism of the human spirit most pointedly in The Crossing, one of the more tender songs here. With some fine lilting fiddle this is a beautiful spiritual lament. The Door continues in this vein as Holcombe reins in his voice while pedal steel (by Russ Pahl) glides and weaves. Both of these songs are cloaked in mystery as Holcombe sings of people who seem to be lost and desolate but who are buttressed by hope and pride. The starkness of The Empty Jar is the culmination of this; delicate guitar and viola paint a lonely picture as Holcombe sings ΓÇ£an empty jar but full of eyes/ that see you here pourinΓÇÖ perfect comfort /for thirsty silent tears.ΓÇ¥ The effect is similar to the grim determination seen in the photography of Dorothea Lange. The duet with Emmylou Harris In Your Mercy is lighter in its delivery but again tells of an abandoned soul clinging to pride and memories.

All of these songs are beautiful and had the album stuck with this style it would be very impressive indeed. However Holcombe adds a topping of righteous indignation and launches his full bear growl on a clutch of songs that damn those in control who cause misery and loss. Butcher In Town opens the album like a boxer jumping out on the bell. Darrell ScottΓÇÖs Dobro is excellent here as Holcombe proclaims ΓÇ£I donΓÇÖt claim a thing/not a two bit clue/but somebody whispered/war kills the truthΓÇ¥ while on Twisted Arms he almost spits out the words. Whitewash Job nails the politicians with an undisguised glee with Holcombe sounding not unlike Baby Gramps with his piratical ΓÇ£har harsΓÇ¥ over a fine chugging rhythm. The duet with Steve Earle, Trail OΓÇÖ Money is the most direct diatribe as Holcombe declares ΓÇ£all the noise from the crowd/breakinΓÇÖ hearts with deceit/all you war hungry bastards/bloodthirsty with greed.ΓÇ¥ Despite the vitriol in the words the song itself is a wonderful recreation of the sound of Bob Dylan circa 1970 with lonesome harp and a nice country lope. Holcombe sums up the album and his thoughts on the closing title song, a fine old fashioned number with female backing vocals and an uplifting beat as he sings ΓÇ£the hard times makes us stronger to get by/and leave this world behind/down the river.ΓÇ¥		
Malcolm Holcombe - Down The River (2012) [FLAC]/01 Butcher in Town.flac 30.905 MB
Malcolm Holcombe - Down The River (2012) [FLAC]/02 I Call The Shots.flac 21.596 MB
Malcolm Holcombe - Down The River (2012) [FLAC]/03 Gone Away At Last.flac 24.816 MB
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