Album review: MALCOLM HOLCOMBE – Pretty Little Troubles

MALCOLM HOLCOMBE - Pretty Little Troubles

Gypsy Eyes Music [Release date 26.05.17]

As a co-reviewer pointed out to me, I have previously reviewed an album by ‘old soul and modern day southern blues poet’ Malcolm Holcombe back in 2011 (To Drink To The Rain).

But, falling somewhere between country, folk and the blues and sounding like  Seasick Steve’s long lost country cousin, that album appears to have left no indelible mark on my recollection or [music] collection.

Several releases have come and gone in the intervening years, but for Holcombe time has stood still – his 15th studio recording remaining rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where he was born and raised.

Vocals wizened way beyond his 61 years, Holcombe’s southern drawl dominates a sparsely, but masterfully accompanied set.  At times he sounds like he has someone else’s teeth in – it’s what you might call ‘authentic’.

As a result, Pretty Little Troubles offers little by way of crossover concessions, although there were moments when I thought if Sir Rod were ever to make a roots album this may not be 100 miles away from what it might sound like.

But somehow, I doubt that Penny keeps her pearly whites in a jar overnight.  Maybe Rod could get his old Faces ‘mucker’ Ronnie to lend a hand (and his Hampsteads)?  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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