On the strength of his debut EP, Lost & Found, Drew Holcomb is a compelling new voice on the city's roots scene. Literally. Over the course of the five songs on this sharply produced, uncommonly accomplished debut, Holcomb shows off a raspy twang to rival Lucero's Ben Nichols and, on "Long Gone Away," deploys a yearning ache that evokes Brad Bailey of the Glass. I only wish Holcomb's songs reflected some of the humor you here from Cory Branan.
If Holcomb's brooding songs come across as a little too dour, they're still strongly written enough to spark interest in what he might come up with next. And as music, he's all aces, showing just enough alt-country range with the little classic-rock surge on the protest song "Anymore Shame" ("Ladies and gentlemen, won't you lend me your ears?/This town's falling all around you, and you don't even care") and jaunty roots-rock à la Guitar Town-era Steve Earle on "Rollin' Around." You can catch Holcomb Saturday, July 17th, at the P&H Café.
Holcomb isn't the only rootsy local newcomer on the scene this week: The Sundogs, an Atlanta band hoping to make Memphis a second home, plays Young Avenue Deli the same night. The band is led by singer-guitarist brothers Lee and Will Haraway, Millington natives who started playing in area bands while students at Ole Miss. The Sundogs' press kit name-drops Uncle Tupelo and Gram Parsons as prime influences and says that they call their sound "NO DEPRESSION ROCK N ROLL." Despite that, the band's debut, BB Gun Days, is as much Southern rock as alt-country, with some tracks marked by a bombastic, bluesy, classic-rock swagger highly reminiscent of the Black Crowes.
Some other shows on tap this week: The Iron Mic Coalition plays the Hi-Tone Cafe Friday, July 16th. The "super group" Grease Factor (boasting musicians who have played with the Allman Brothers Band, Leftover Salmon, Nickel Creek, and Susan Tedeschi, among others) bring their "improvisational project" to the Hi-Tone Saturday, July 17th. Ska-punk veterans Less Than Jake hit the New Daisy Theatre Wednesday, July 21st. --