Neighborly Christmas CD (2007)
Christmas music Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors present a collection of holiday evergreens in their characteristic combination of country, blues, and rockabilly styles on A Neighborly *. The mood overall is more downbeat than might be expected, with, for example, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" being presented in a slow, thoughtful arrangement utterly unlike the march that most carolers turn it into. Singer Ellie Holcomb figures prominently in the vocals, taking the lead on "Blue *," the original composition "Merry * Tonight" (which she co-wrote), and "Away in a Manger," after joining her bandleader husband in a duet on the lead-off track, "Baby It's Cold Outside." In contrast to the generally somber tone, "Silent Night," usually presented as a dirge, here gets a midtempo folk-rock arrangement that belies its lyric; all is not calm this time. Drew Holcomb's spotlight comes at the official end of the disc, when he is accompanied only by a solo piano on "Have Yourself a Merry Little *," which allows him to bring out the bittersweet words of that seasonal favorite; his voice is in the same register as Rufus Wainwright's, but its timbre is a bit more gruff and considerably less sonorous. That isn't quite the finish, however, and the band proves it can celebrate by adding as a hidden track an exhilarating "Jingle Bells." ~ William Ruhlmann
Recording live in the studio over two days at Nashville's historic House of David studios, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors have captured the warmth and magic of the * season with their jazz-infused folk rock interpretations of classic gospel * songs and holiday seasonal standards. The rhythm section, comprised of Jon Radford on drums and Rich Brinsfield on Upright and Electric Bass, lays down a rich groove for multi-instrumentalist Nathan Dugger to...