DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS : Live At The Ryman. (www.drewholcolmb.com)
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbours are a band described on Wikipedia as “Americana” and have placings in the Billboard folk, rock and independent charts as well as various of their songs appearing in the soundtracks for TV shows. This album, though, fits best under the “Americana” label, being not quite formulaic enough to be country rock. It reminded me a lot of Bob Seeger, Melissa Etheridge and Blackberry Smoke in style (and, going back quite a way, Randy Matthews) with odd nods towards the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen and Glen Campbell. It’s fairly gentle and rolls along nicely in a mid-tempo sort of way. It was recorded in Nashville, which fits the sound very well. It’s live but so well played and sung that it could almost have been a studio recording (although, as other reviewers have noted, the final track does sound like it was recorded in the tunnel afterwards – this is the exception, however). I especially liked the guitar work on “Avalanche” and “When It’s All Said And Done” although the better tracks overall were probably towards the beginning of the album, with the material becoming more emotional later on as the concert progresses. Lyrically it’s very clear (as you tend to get with this style of music) and clearly person-centric, sometimes expressing faith and sometimes love for partners. I was just starting to think that “Live Forever” had more than a passing resemblance to “People Get Ready”, when they started singing it, so I guess they noticed too. If you like this type of music then you’ll like this album, but if you don’t then it won’t change your mind. Best track: “Shine Like Lightning”.
7/10 Paul Ganney.