by John Tarpley
When Malcolm Holcombe gets in his mesmerizing, stomping groove, a cavalcade of idiosyncrasies blasts out of him in full effect. Never still, he jostles in his chair, shaking his head like a dazed drunkard with water in his ear, a sensation surely familiar to the legendarily rough and tumble Appalachian whom Steve Earle once called "the best singer-songwriter I ever threw out of my studio." He's a clever-hearted John Prine in the body of a hardscrabble, boondock Keith Richards who earned the affections of both after releasing his proper debut, "A Hundred Lies," at the age of 43. It's an unbelievable premiere, full of wandering and poetic mood pieces about his trail to a long-avoided sobriety, but even amidst the heavy themes, it's his trademark voice that ensnares. It neighs. It's a gnarled, primordial rumble, and it provides a perfect accompaniment to his hypnotic, finger-picked brand of blues-folk guitar. White Water's website says "don't screw up and miss this show" and, well, we're going to have to agree.