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MALCOLM HOLCOMBE Annual Hometown Holiday Concert Sat Nov 24th 2018 at 8pm

“This world is full of goodness and a lot of positivity, but it seems like I can relate to the underdog and the downtrodden, for obvious reasons,” he says. “Those types of songs seem to strike a nerve more deeply than the ‘Yellow Brick Road,’ because I think it’s a struggle for all of us to try to do the next right thing. Some people have the spiritual chemistry to be able to achieve that more easily than others, but I think we all struggle with getting up in the morning and trying to live in our own skin.”
----- Malcolm Holcombe

$12 in advance
$15 at the door

Steve Wildsmith writes:

His songs belong in the same Western North Carolina echelon of mysteries like the Brown Mountain Lights or the ghostly apparitions along Helen’s Bridge or the phantom choir of Roan Mountain — things that surpass conventional explanation but summon forth a combination of awe and primal longing, an ache to understand the great questions of the human condition. Malcolm may not have the answers to those questions, but his songs are drawn from the same waters that begin as a trickle in the deep woods: wild, untamed, filled with the whispers and roars of all the mysteries and wonders those hills contain. 

And like the region’s otherworldly manifestations, they come from a place that transcends easy understanding, even by their creator. 

“I don’t know, man; people ask me that stuff, and I can’t really tell you where it comes from,” Holcombe says. “I’m not really good at pulling a Houdini and getting the pencil to levitate. Getting my pencil to levitate is impossible; it’s not in my realm of being. Like my friend Eddie from up here in Swannanoa says, ‘If you like to get corn, you got to get out the hoe.’” 

For “Come Hell or High Water,” he wields that hoe with a deft set of hands, gnarled fingers smelling of tobacco and fresh dirt and the resin from thousands of worn-out guitar strings. It’s his third record in as many years, but it’s a pointless endeavor to talk to him about his creative process, because Malcolm isn’t the sort of songwriter to poke those dark recesses of the mind to figure out where the words that bubble up there come from. 

“It’s like a friend of mine said years ago — everything’s a miracle or nothing’s a miracle,”

"I can't believe I'd never heard of Malcolm Holcombe before now. But it seems somewhat fitting: The gravel-voiced, backwoods denizen is by all accounts unassuming and humble, keeping to himself in the hills of Appalachia, producing his own music, and quietly going about the business of writing and singing some of the most striking, insightful songs about America's least-seen people.

Aside from a brief and tumultuous stint in Nashville, Holcombe, who plays in Missoula at this year's River City Roots Festival, has spent his whole life in North Carolina. The writer Alan Kaufman compares Holcombe to William Faulkner, calling him a "singular sort of solitary genius that ... is yet the voice of an entire region—the South." But while I agree that he's a genius, I think that to cast the net so broad as to encompass all of the South is to miss the true nuance of Holcombe's music.

These are songs about working-class America and the distinct sorrows and triumphs therein. Holcombe gives voice to this population through the ages, from the era before labor reform ("fifty cents a bloody day/ no child labor laws/ most them lil babies died/ disease and alcohol," from "Good Ol' Days," an ironically chipper tune) to today, when, despite all of our advances, the problems we face are just as sinister ("big money fills my pockets with words/ puppets poison my mind" from "Crippled Point O' View").

--Melissa Mylchreest

"Malcolm Holcombe has been western North Carolina’s resident poet of the disparaged, desperate, broke down and hard-working salt-of-the earth people of the mountains for a long time now.

Holcombe knows of what he sings as he has lived many of the human situations that inhabit his unique and idiosyncratic story songs, and his life on the road experiences fuel his innovative and hard-scrabble guitar playing.."

-- Derek Halsey

Years ago, following Malcolm Holcombe’s career could be as unnerving and high-wire suspenseful as his riveting live performances. His brilliance was obvious to a core of fans and some attentive music journalists, but so were the self-destructive tendencies that floated around this mercurial man like wraiths. We worried at times that we’d have to add Holcombe to the What Might Have Been pantheon with Hank Williams, Jaco Pastorius and Charlie Parker. We imagined talking about Holcombe in the past tense to the too many who’d never been able to hear his shockingly truthful and affecting voice.

By the grace of God however, there is no past tense in Holcombe’s life and career, just a very vibrant present and a widening sense of tomorrow’s possibilities. He is many years sober, performing worldwide and happily married to a woman who manages his schedule and keeps his inner garden clear for the work. He retains his quirky, fascinating character, and he writes – in spasms of energy and clarity, producing visions that hover between earthy solidity and rustic mysticism. He plays with rhythmic pounce and sings with psychological fire.

Holcombe grew up in western North Carolina, home to some of the planet’s oldest mountains and some of America’s deepest musical traditions. Radio and TV fueled Malcolm’s musical passions as a kid, and music became even more important after he lost both his parents relatively young. He toured with bands and landed in Nashville, where he took up an inconspicuous station at the back of the house – the very back - at Douglas Corner, one of the city’s best singer/songwriter venues. Stories began to circulate about the mysterious dishwasher with the subterranean voice and oracle-like talent. Sadly so did stories of wildly inconsistent behavior – profound sweetness crossed by bouts of stunning abrasiveness. He flirted with an official music career. But his stunning debut album made for Geffen Records was abruptly shelved, producing melodrama that only exacerbated Malcolm’s drinking and depression. A business that once had a place for complicated genius turned its back on him, and he teetered near the edge.

 Moving back to the North Carolina hills proved a powerful tonic. Holcombe let in help where before he’d pushed it away. With deep faith in God and a commitment to his art, Holcombe repaired himself and his career.

And that’s a pretty good nod to the effect of hearing Holcombe sing. If you’ve not seen him in a live setting, this is what you have to do. His presence is spooky and timeless, as one imagines it was like to see Son House or Leadbelly. No emotional stone is left unturned.

He is cryptic, demanding, polarizing, bold, passionate and free, a combination badly needed in our time of infinite trivia. He’s even more interesting for having made a remarkable journey of recovery and discovery.


Opening for Malcolm 
will be Special Guest

“There are many different species of the Music Artist. Various combinations of singers, songwriters and entertainers.  But it’s the ones that wear their art that get to us the most. The ones that don’t know how not to tell the truth in their music and reveal the raw and ragged triumphs that in the end are more beautiful because of the honesty of the struggle. These are the Artists that get in our bones and shake loose our demons by slaying their own with chords and words. Artists like Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin…and Stevie Tombstone."
----Outlaw Magazine

"Stevie Tombstone is a quintessential troubadour, a veteran musician who’s had a degree of success but has mostly been relegated to “best-kept secret” status. The leader of an Atlanta-based swamp-rockabilly band called The Tombstones in the 1980s and ’90s, Tombstone has now settled into a solo career in which he crafts powerful folk songs tinged with classic country and vintage blues influences. "
---Dan Armonitis-

In his early days, Stevie penned the college radio anthem and regional hit "Nobody", which was later recorded by rock icon, Stiv Bators. After a chance meeting with Roy Acuff, Stevie (then, a young man) was certain he would always be a musician. Georgia born relation of the legendary fiddler Clayton McMichen, In his early twenties he  immersed himself in the world of rock and the underground music scene of the 80s in Atlanta but never lost the twang of his childhood. Almost three decades later, he has become an accomplished performer and songwriter and guitarist as well as a seminal part of the Atlanta and Austin Music Scenes.

Stevie has now released five solo albums and half a dozen music videos, besides his published works with his 1980s swamp swampabilly band, The Tombstones. His debut full length release 730 AM received  great reviews and airplay besides offering tracks that peaked on the Satellite Radio charts and featuring performances by members of Wilco, Jason and the Scorchers, The Bad Livers and the Georgia Satelittes.  After several comps and EPs his 2011 Release Greenwood reintroduced Stevie to the Americana and folk listeners with his autobiographical tale about his journey to Greenwood with Bluesman Johnny Shines and Ju Ju Hounds Guitarist Rick Richards and the trios attempt to mark the grave of then unhonored Robert Johnson.

Stevie's band mates and co conspirators , over the years, have been a veritable whos who of underground and nationally recognized players,. Priding himself in his ability to cross genres, he has also had the honor of sharing the bill with the likes of Leon Russell, the Stray Cats, Greg Allman, Willie Nelson, Drive By Truckers, Johnny Bush & the Ramones, just to name a few. Besides producing and writing for other artists Stevie still Performs over 200 nights a year enjoying a grassroots following that's kept him on the trail for the last 3 decades. His latest release On the Line is available now and enjoying growing airplay .