Lonesome Highway - January 2016

Malcolm Holcombe ‘Another Black Hole’ - Proper

Following hot on the heels of his RCA sessions album comes this new one from Mr. Holcombe. He seems very prolific of late with a whole bunch of new songs delivered in that battered, gritty and distinctive voice that is uniquely his. It is a folk/blues Americana mix that brings together his usual crew of Ken Coomer, Jared Tyler and Dave Roe alongside Drea Merritt on some vocal harmonies and Tony Joe White on some swampy guitar.

Those who know (and love) Holcombe’s work will be happy to get to know these new songs. As in the past there are others who can’t get passed the voice. All has been brought together by Brian Brinkerhoff and Ray Kennedy’s sturdy production. The latter also engineered, mixed and mastered the album. The playing through is top notch and gives added depth and texture to these songs that look up to the sky and higher, from a position that is much closer to the street and those that live there. People who may just get by, who have few expectations but somehow manage to see some grace. This feeling may well be summed up in Siobhan Maher-Kennedy’s cover illustration.

The hard-scrabble blues on offer may not appeal to all but it has dignity and a purpose and the assembled players know how to bring the tales of woe to a sunnier side of the street even if Holcombe’s voice seems to sit on the grittier side of Tom Waits. He offers nothing here but his own truth and his hard held beliefs and some very credible music. Something that has always given Malcolm Holcombe his edge with his coterie of admirers and friends.

Stephen Rapid