it not been for the persistence of Steve Earle
and Lucinda Williams, 1996's "A
Hundred Lies" (Hip-O/Universal) may never have
seen the light of day. The album received four stars in Rolling
Stone by music editor David Fricke, and accolades from
USA Today, No Depression, and Dirty Linen as well as international
press. His moody poetry, country blues guitar and rumbling baritone
garnered comparisons to notable musicians such as Tom
Waits and John Prine. But deals gone
bust and some wrong turns kept him from the greater public and
only sharpened his distrust of the "business" in general.
Malcolm Holcombe is finally being recognized
by the contemporary U.S and European folk/americana community
as a performer of national stature, and an uncommonly unique
guitarist/vocalist about whom Rolling Stone magazine says: "Haunted
country, acoustic blues and rugged folk all meet [here]..."
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would tell you himself . . . .
"I was born at St. Joseph's hospital in Asheville,
NC, sometime on September 2, 1955. The youngest of four boys.
Dad was a hardworking busdriver and partners with his Father,
"Papa Holcombe", of the Mars Hill-Weaverville bus
line. Raised with a love of music and reading by my Mother and
encouragement by my Father (who strongly suggested to me 'don't
quit your day job' I learned to play a flat-top guitar...my
dad bought it. The home where I was raised is unrecognisable
now in the used-to-be small mountain town of Weaverville, NC.
Go-carts, baseball, fishin' holes and Main Street filled my
days til my parents died, not too soon apart, (mother ' 73 and
dad ' 79) & I moved to Florida.
After many trials and errors of tuning guesswork and neighborhood
friends that didn't mind too much me hangin' around them that
could play "Smoke On the Water"- and real rock 'n
roll songs- high school days finally broke the sweat with a
folk group "The Hilltoppers" who took me under their
wings of patience and ditching classes to do shows and sock-
hops, fairs and such, strumming Peter Paul and Mary songs and
traditional Appalachian ballads with versions of old standard
bluegrass songs- I wasn't up to snuff to sing, but they gladly
made me welcome with my strummin'.
1976 rolled around and Caesar's Parlor in the Big City of Asheville
where I met, and still admire and stay in touch with, Ray Sisk
and Joey Freeman who opened up the saloon doors to Redwing,
my second band if you will. Ray inspired me to work hard and
perform, travel and write songs. Eventually a duo was formed
with Sam Milner that resulted in my first LP "Trademark"-
becoming familiar with roadwork and a few more chords and notes
on guitar- solo shows and house gigs followed until my butt
found a Greyhound bus and a one way ticket to Nashville September
2nd 1990 ummmmmmmmmoh well....................
Nashville days- yeah man- simply hard and frustrating beyond
no man lands expressions and tales- Nashville TN. The rest is
scribbled and slung down in songs- sad, sure and subtle and
forever reasoned for. Takin' on ol' ways impure survival with
no sound explanation. I continue performing, writing and supporting
my family and blood flowin' folk ballads with no sound explanation-
It's my job."
Malcolm's 2007 European release, Not Forgotten,
was produced by Malcolm and Aaron Price at Collapseable Studios
in Asheville and mastered by Grammy award winner Ray
Kennedy (Steve Earle, Delbert McClinton) at Zen Masters
Studios in Nashville, TN. Not Forgotten once again lifts Holcombe's
music to another dimension. With a small, tight combo of experienced
players, including bassist Bill Reynolds (Donna the
Buffalo), and dobro player Jared Tyler (David
Wilcox) this CD reveals a meeting ground where traditional
and contemporary folk, rock and blues all converge. Taken together
the final result is a deep drawing from the resonant well of
our musical heritage, and its fusion, through Holcombe's inimitable
style, should not be missed.
Malcolm has shared the road with Shelby Lynne
and opened for such notable artists as Merle Haggard,
Richard Thompson, John Hammond, Leon Russell and Wilco.
In addition, Maura O'Connell cut two of Malcolm's
songs on her album "Walls and Windows".
Touring throughout the year, his live performances are legendary
among his legions of fans. He continues to write prolifically,
appearing regularly on radio in areas in which he is performing.
1. Sparrows and Sparrows
2. Goin' Home
3. A Steady Heart
4. Baby Doll
5. Room Eleven
6. Cryin' Dime
7. Not Forgotten
8. Your Eyes Will Shine
9. Yesterday's Clothes
10. Animated Sanctuary
11. This Ol' House
12. Where is My Garden?