Still grizzly after all these years, seasoned alt.country trooper Malcolm Holcombe confesses to “Feelin’ my age, feelin’ cynical and wrong, too scared to believe I belong anymore” on New Damnation Alley, one of 13 new songs on his 16th album.
As he enters the sixth decade of his life, this is not an admission of defeat, just a statement of fact.
Harmony vocals from Iris DeMent take the edge off his ragged growl as he cusses and prays about the state of the world. Her amazing voice is more prominent on Brother's Keeper and made me wish she was higher in the mix.
Peopled by drunks, Vietnam vets, concerned mothers and downbeat drifters, the songs speak for those marginalized by materialism. “This world is full of goodness and a lot of positivity, but it seems like I can relate to the underdog and the downtrodden, for obvious reasons” Holcombe says.
As viewed from the North Carolina side of the Southern Appalachians, a region which he calls "a resilient pocket of wilderness", he warns of the coming “rain and the dread” on Black Bitter Moon.
The closing track, Torn And Wrinkled, may have a weary tone but Holcombe's drive to keep on speaking up for the sad and helpless shows that he still cares.
Malcolm Holcombe's website