10 Questions with ... Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
November 7, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Chasing Someday
- The Passenger Seat
- A Million Miles Away
1) Tell us a bit about the musical journey of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors?
Our musical journey is like the Beatles song "the long and winding road." We have been on the road for over eight years, starting out just me and my guitar and my Volvo. Then I picked up the band and married Ellie five years ago, convinced her to quit teaching eighth grade English and go out on the road with me for 200 dates a year (every woman's dream, right?). We have played bars, college cafeterias, coffee shops, theaters, festivals, and every other conceivable place to play music and try to build a following, and somehow over the long haul it has worked out for us. All the while we try to write songs that matter to us, say something we see the light in, and hope it lands on willing ears.
2) What is the story behind the single "Live Forever"?
It is a letter to my nieces and my nephew, written on the occasion of my sister and her husband deciding to leave the U.S. to move to Panama, with a bittersweet sadness on behalf of me, Uncle Drew, wishing they weren't leaving. The song was meant as a wish-them-well song, even though they are probably too young to understand, but I want their lives to be rich with experience, with love, with courage, with the good things as they face the reality of hardship, suffering, and disappointment that plagues the human experience. I want them to know they have the option to fight the darkness.
3) Is there a message to the songs on Chasing Someday? Do you craft an album so that the songs work toward a singular point/theme?
Not intentionally. I am not a preacher and don't ever want to tell my audience how to engage my music. I love the Wilco song "What Light," which basically talks about how once you release music into the world, it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the audience, and they are your partners in trying to make sense of the world. It's a conversation, and I think the writing and recording part that we do without the audience is our talking to them, but then the songs sometimes take a new life once the audience takes ownership of them, and we have to deal with that looks like.
4) Do you have a favorite song on Chasing Someday?
I think "Live Forever" will always be one of my favorite songs because not only does it have such personal weight with me, but it also the song that kept me from quitting the road. If I could have only written one song in my entire life, I would be happy if it was this one.
5) Who inspires you personally, spiritually and/or musically?
My wife and my father are the people who influence me the most. I love to read, all the time, and am always challenged and inspired by anyone who is willing to do the hard work of engaging complex issues and complex people with grace and humility.
Musically, anyone who can write a song that acts like a key to a locked door is inspiring. There is a band called Dawes that is doing that for me a lot, especially two songs, "Million Dollar Bill" and "A Little Bit of Everything." I am on I-40 as I type this (Ellie is driving), and they are our soundtrack for the next 60 miles.
6) You have your annual Neighborly Christmas Tour coming up with Jars Of Clay. Which holiday classics do you add to your set list?
We do "Baby Its Cold Outside" as our signature song, but also some originals alongside "Silver Bells," "Hark the Heralds Angels Sing" and our own Memphis style version of "Silent Night."
7) Where is your favorite place to play?
We have a lot. Playing at home in Nashville is always a special occasion. Nashville has been amazing to us, welcoming us home. Our other favorite cities to play are Chicago, Athens, GA, Austin, Knoxville, and my hometown of Memphis. There is a little rock club there called the Hi Tone Café, where I cut my teeth playing all the time in my first four years, and anytime we play there it magical.
8) What are you most thankful for this year?
My grandfather, who I adored, always said the thing he was most thankful for was life. I think that is a great thing to remember, that every breath is a gift and everything else is icing on the cake. So, another year doing what I love, with the capacity to write songs and people who care about hearing them. I am one of the lucky ones.
9) Do have any specific family Thanksgiving traditions?
Ellie and I rotate years. This year is with my family. My brother and I will get up every morning at 5 a.m. to go duck hunting, a family tradition for over 100 years.
10) What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
My mom always makes Caramel Cake. I don't know if that is a traditional Thanksgiving dish or not, but I always eat about five slices.