Malcolm Holcombe – Down the River

January 01, 1970

(Gypsy Eyes Music)


With his gruff, world-weary vocals and homespun sentiment,
Malcolm Holcombe would seem the essence of a somewhat tattered troubadour.
Although he hardly seems old enough to purvey such hard-bitten tales, the
support of such seasoned players as Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Kim Richey,
Darrell Scott, Ken Coomer and Tammy Rogers ensures a certain authenticity.


Still, give Holcombe credit for holding his own; like Tom
Waits, John Prine or the late David Ackles, he inserts himself in these songs,
affirming his credence in the process. These tangled tunes convey a swampy
sound and sober sensibility that manifests itself in the somber narrative “The
Crossing” and the gritty defiance of “Twisted Arms.” Scott’s banjo pluck on
“Gone Away at Last” affirms that sense of tempered determination and when the
harmonies alight in “Twisted Arms,” “In Your Mercy” and the reflective title
track, the net result is all the more affecting. Ten albums on, Holcombe has
honed his approach to the point where he leaves an indelible impression with
each succeeding effort, and Down the River serves
to remind both those already aware and newcomers alike why Holcombe’s rugged
individualism makes for such a formidable impact.


It’s been a slow but steady climb over his 16 year career,
but Holcombe has managed to etch his identity with each new album. There’s no
doubt that at this point he’s the real deal.


DOWNLOAD: “Gone Away At Last,” “The
Crossing,” “Down the River” LEE ZIMMERMAN




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