Endurance and perseverance are the watchwords when it comes to describing the career of Malcolm Holcombe. Even using the word 'career' sounds off. He is not a clocking in, going through the motions kind of guy and certainly never likely to do any work on behalf of the man.
Now on his 14th album and having recently turned 60, he is the personification of roots music with a level of authenticity and integrity which has won him admirers from the likes of Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle.
Holcombe is resolutely on the side of life's underdogs and not concerned in prettifying their stories. "The radio plays for the happy go lucky, that ain't my set of wheels", he growls on the title track.
With Holcombe, it's all about the songs and unflinchingly telling the truth as he sees it. The lives he documents are not pretty or easy. He sings about individuals struggling to make ends meet (To Get By) or suffering gruelling work conditions (Papermill Man). On Leavin' Anna, he sings "A working man is a working man, makes a delicate flower grow".
But far from sounding morose or browbeaten, these working men's blues are mostly delivered with a degree of Stones-like raunchiness. This effect is achieved thanks to the help of Drea Merritt on harmony vocals, "visionary percussionist" Futureman (aka Ray Wooten) , Jared Tyler (banjo, mandolin and dobro) and the crisp production work from ever dependable Ray Kennedy.
On Another Black Hole, Holcombe isn't interested in seeking any new directions, he just wants to dig deeper.
Malcolm Holcombe's website