August has finally arrived in full force, albeit with cooler temperatures all across the city. Complaints should not be too high given the great music that is shared throughout the airwaves. Case in point, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors are working their magic after unveiling their new album ‘Souvenir’ this past spring. Filled with even more tender bits, the musicians show off their craft yet again. On top of that, this has also lead the crew on a widely anticipated summer tour. For eager new fans, Drew and the band also shared their hit album ‘Medicine’ for free online via Noisetrade.
Drew elaborated a bit about this unique opportunity. “Noisetrade invited us to be the first ‘Artist in Residence’. It’s a way for them to focus on some the artists who have used their platform over the years to find a lot of their audience.”
With their discography growing, Mr. Holcomb had his favorite bits deep inside. “I’m pretty proud of the whole arch of our work, but ‘Medicine’ stands out to me as the album that will probably define our music for years to come. To me, it seems like the most complete, confident, and honest work we have ever done, both from a songwriting perspective but also from a recording perspective. American Beauty and Here We Go could not be more different songs, but the approach we took in the studio seemed to glue all the songs and narratives together.”
Performance goals have been reached already for the musicians. “Headlining the Ryman was the top of our bucket list, so it’s all downhill from there. I have seen probably 40 shows there over the years, and those shows are a pretty wide spectrum. Everything from Kristofferson to Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Dylan, Tom Waits, etc. So to get up there and share our music in that room was ideal, to say the least.”
A common theme lies within the rough shows on the road. “There is a long list of festivals and shows that were difficult mostly from a sound point of view, if you can’t hear yourself it’s hard to enjoy it. You just have to trust your instincts because you can’t hear enough to know whether you are playing and singing how you want to.”
As an active participant in the musical space, Mr. Holcomb gave his two cents on it all in the year 2017. “I think it’s a challenging time to be an artist because the rules of the game keep changing, but at the end of the day, if you are making music and trying to do it for a living, you probably are not in it for the stability or the money. You are in it because you have something to say to the world, and the rules don’t matter… It makes it hard to budget a tour, plan a record and so on when the practical means of musical consumption keep changing.” Adding onto that spirit, Drew mentioned who he thought keeps music strong with the times. “Anyone who has ‘ache’ in their music. That can be Jason Isbell or Lady Gaga. The structure and genre matter a lot less to me than the integrity of telling the truth and taking chances.”
Beyond music, his creative ambitions remain strong. “I have hopes of writing a book or two before it’s all said and done. I have always enjoyed reading and would enjoy the challenge of the written word.” Within music, they are always playing around with new ideas. “We are starting to explore that a little, doubling vocals, verbing out kick drums and snares. We will see, never say never.”
When not busy, Mr. Holcomb is a family man. “If it stops raining I’m going to take my kids swimming at the Y.” Their busy season continues to rage onwards. “The Fall tour is my next big project. I take very seriously, wanting every night to be a great night for all the folks who parted with their hard earned money. So I am working on songs, old and new, and figuring out ways to give the show more and more energy and heart.”