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Malcolm Holcombe w/Dana Cooper 

When: Fri., Sept. 23, 6 p.m. 2011
Price: $7
I first saw Holcombe play in 1997, and was absolutely stunned — never before had I been so blown away by one man and an acoustic guitar. But his weakness for booze and other excesses was glaringly evident — both in his demeanor, and in whispered tales of legendary binges, pawned guitars and blown opportunities. He appeared so near the precipice, in fact, that it seemed inconceivable that the he’d be breathing, let alone putting out great records, 14 years later. But here it is 2011, and Holcombe has somehow managed to steer back onto the long, lonesome highway. The suspense of whether he might fall off his stool may be gone, but his unorthodox finger picking, singular songwriting style and unearthly voice are as spellbinding as ever — he’s like a grizzled backwoods mystic who’s wandered down from some dank Blue Ridge cavern. To Drink the Rain is the latest in a string of consistently strong albums since his course correction. Highlights include the country-blues stomper “One Leg at a Time,” the waltzing spiritual “Down in the Woods” and the sweet, lilting folksong “Reckon to the Wind.” And stick around for Dana Cooper, who plays the late show: Of his most recent album, the Scene’s Jim Ridley writes, “The Conjurer finds Cooper the ‘mysterious man of mellifluous melody’ breathing new life into raw tunes nearly four decades deep in his catalog, with a sprightly roots-rock snap that wouldn’t be out of place on a Peter Case record.”
— Jack Silverman

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