|“||Spanning the years 1994 to 2014, The RCA Sessions comprises 16 cuts in a CD/DVD retrospective that includes tracks from each of his previous 10 full length albums and 1 EP. Unlike the usual anthology of original recordings, Holcombe re-recorded the selected songs at the legendary RCA Studios in Nashville, TN in the fall of 2014.|
Included is the live performance favorite, "Mouth Harp Man", which is exclusive to this release, as well as well as the popular tracks "Goin' Home", "Who Carried You", and a very special duet with Irish folk great, Maura O'Connell, of Holcombe's classic, "A Far Cry From Here".
The band members, who have all frequently performed with Malcolm in the studio as well as for live performances, are: Jared Tyler (dobro, electric guitar, lap steel, vocals); David Roe Rorick ( upright bass, arco), Tammy Rogers (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Ken Coomer (drums, percussion), Jellyroll Johnson (harmonica), and Siobhan Maher Kennedy (vocals).
To represent Holcombe's live performance range- from the intimate nature of solo acoustic, to the much lauded duo configuration with long-standing multi-instrumentalist Jared Tyler, to the energy and intensity of his full band shows- the CD/DVD set includes all of the above-mentioned musical configurations. Cut as live performances in-studio, these tracks capture the spirit of Holcombe's incendiary concert performances and timeless songwriting.
As this is the first time Malcolm Holcombe has released a DVD performance, it is sure to become a much appreciated addition to both long time fans, as well as the perfect introduction for the uninitiated. The RCA Sessions is not an end, but a culmination of work that spotlights the artistic mastery of one of the most unique and irreplaceable musicians working today in the contemporary folk scene.
|“||Country/folk singer Malcolm Holcombe has enjoyed a long and distinguished career spanning an impressive two decades. In celebration of this achievement, the North Carolina native has put together The RCA Sessions; a collection of songs written between 1994 and 2014 for his previous ten albums and EP. Unlike most works such as this, he has re-recorded each track just for this release, making it an extra special undertaking for the seasoned musician. The cool acoustic riff of "Who Carried You" begins the compilation, preceding relaxed vocals that play out as if they're narrating a folk tale. Its strong country flavour sets the standard for what's to come ahead of the stirring introduction of "Mister in Morgantown". This enthusiastic and animated offering features a mix of guitar, harmonica and light percussion, all of which unfold alongside an expressive harmony. Festive fiddles get "I Feel Like a Train" going, ahead of a merry melody. Its laid back atmosphere persists into "Doncha Miss That Water", whose stripped down, back to basics approach is realised through cheery vocals and a riff that's a little more complex. "The Empty Jar" adopts a mellow, solemn stance in its wake, while "Butcher in Town" brightens things back up by dancing in on a fun and rousing beat. Fast paced and characterful, its lighthearted, playful demeanour is quite infectious. Raw, coarse vocals howl out across some absorbing instrumentation during "To Drink the Rain" as it adopts more of an electric, rock flair than its predecessors. It's succeeded by the warm and moving country ballad, "Early Mornin'", which saunters along lazily, taking its time moving forward. "I Never Heard You" continues in a similar manner, generating a sombre ambience. Subtle acoustic guitars and earnest, reflective lyrics are complemented by poignant string work during the chorus. "Mouth Harp Man" marches at a steady pace into thoughtful vocals that cut across reverberating harmonicas and colourful guitars. The busy and boisterous instrumentation of "I Call the Shots" arrives afterwards to preface an obstinate and optimistic melody. This is followed by the quick rhythm and speedy verse of "My Ol' Radio", paving the way for a cheerful duet with Siobhan Maher-Kennedy. "Goin Home" is a contemplative composition next, characterised by bustling musical effects and an affective chorus. "Down the River" strolls slowly out of its wake, emanating a very relaxed and lackadaisical aura. Its successor, "Pitiful Blues", is an entirely different entity, having an almost psychedelic vibe that conjures up images of being out in the searing heat of the desert. "A Far Cry From" decides to head back to softer territory, distinguishing itself as a restrained and heartfelt folk ballad that puts a touching cap on proceedings. While Malcolm Holcombe's material might not hold much appeal to those not invested in country music, it is an accomplished work within its own genre. Each track seems to tell its own story, with the compilation as whole feeling like something that you'd hear played over a camp fire on a warm summer night.|
Review by Dave Simpson, Pure M Magazine 20 April, 2015
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