by John Tarpley
"He's the best singer/songwriter I ever threw out of my studio." Steve Earle, quote factory he is, spit that one out about Malcolm Holcombe, the rough and tumble Appalachian folk singer. His grumbled, minor-key confessionals command a resounding reverence and stir up more than a few welled eyes. During his last visit to White Water Tavern, the crowd sprawled out on the floor, unable, I like to think, to stand up and take it all in. Holcombe's rustic, primal finger-picking is astonishing enough; pair it with the manner in which he sings, eyes rolled into the back of his head, convulsing as he channels a certain ancient rumble and, yeah, it can sometimes be too much to take in all at once. But why the hell does he have to play the same time as Alejandro Escovedo? Looks like it's going to be coin flip time this Thursday.
Check it out: "A Far Cry From Here"