[31 May 2011]
It’s hard to know what to make of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors. Road Warriors? Heartland Christian rockers? Singer/Songwriters? Contemporary country crooners or pop troubadours? Consider all the above and then some. The Tennessee resident has been writing and recording his own music since he was a UT student in Knoxville. Chasing Someday, the latest CD credited to Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, finds the band – including his UT sweetheart/wife Ellie – blending bits of Christianity, love balladry, and fashionable country and pop hooks into a pleasant, polished, and mature full length recording—one tied together by the binds of love.
With hard-driving, scintillating electric guitars and a multi-voiced sing along chorus, lead single/opener “Fire and Dynamite” is a fist in the air anthem of love in the first degree, while its follow up, “Anywhere But Here”, also an ode to a loved one, adds elegant piano and swirling strings. The tempo and tone is hushed on “Live Forever,” a string-laden hymn (with spiritually laced verses) to childhood innocence, which played over the air as a finale in the closing minutes of an episode of NBC drama Parenthood. Drew and Ellie’s voices entwine in perfect harmony, a lulling lullaby baring stark resemblance to Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season.
The radio friendly, hook-laden “Miracle” recalls visions and memories of being young, wild, and carefree, while swells of organ and a thundering rhythm lift the top down highway rocker “Steal My History” to blue skies. Ellie takes lead vocals on her own turbulent ballad, “Your Love”, her sensual soprano swathed in harrowing strings and dark tones, then picks up in tempo and timbre on the chorus sung with Drew. Though clichéd in subject (“She sleeps alone while I’m out on the road / But baby, tomorrow, I’m coming home….”), “Baby Tomorrow” is nonetheless pleasant thanks to a gently plucked banjo and a gleeful “ba da da da” chorus. The LP closes with two more inspirational songs, “One Day At a Time” and “Weight Of the World”, which both decry no matter how much the world might get one down, as long as we’ve got each other …
This is the kind of music that mainstream radio audiences are clamoring for: elegant, beautiful, sweet male/female counterpoint and harmonies, and well-crafted melodies. Seems for certain that Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors won’t be “Chasing Someday” very much longer.