‘Pitiful Blues’ from Malcolm Holcombe - 100% proof(June 17, 2014)
Caustic observation made so by experience, weary understanding achieved through living and a tenacious refusal to accept anything and just roll over. Those are staple ingredients of blues-driven folk. Strong contentions but they need other elements to convey their message and connect. ‘Pitiful Blues’ from Malcolm Holcombe adds them in spades – gutsy, sharp-cut guitar and raw, growling throaty vocals. For years he’s driven his music to our ears and it’s been a hell of a drive.
A native of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, here’s a man that lays down what he feels in the way he wants with little concern about its reception. He hits the guitar with a style that drives hard. He hits his vocals in the same way. And it’s up to the listener to get their head around it. Do that and you’re on your way to immersing yourself in some seriously formidable songs. Don’t hesitate – throw yourself into Holcombe’s world.
From the ominous force of the opener ‘Pitiful Blues’, through the humid intensity of ‘Sign For A Sally’ or ‘Savannah Blues’, to the despondent narrative of ‘Another Despair’ and thecontemplative echoes of ‘By The Boots’ these songs are right where fans would expect them to be, and they’re 100% proof.
‘Pitiful Blues’ releases in August 2014 - an album for those of us that like old wooden rockers, barrel-aged bourbon and just kicking back with favourite Friday-night tunes.
Reviewer: Tom Franks