Weekender

Folk musician Malcolm Holcombe goes solo for Acoustic Brew

Malcolm Holcombe will perform at the Center for Well Being in Lemont on Saturday as part of the Acoustic Brew Concerts series.
Malcolm Holcombe will perform at the Center for Well Being in Lemont on Saturday as part of the Acoustic Brew Concerts series. Photo provided

Singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe will perform at the Center for Well Being in Lemont on March 26 as part of the Acoustic Brew Concerts series.

Holcombe, who was born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, considers himself a homegrown musician through and through, tracing his musical origins back to his early family life.

“My mother played French harp, and I started watching Flatt and Scruggs on TV,” Holcombe said. “It was the early ’60s. My mother always liked ‘The Lawrence Welk Show,’ and she had some old records.”

“I did a little record locally in 1985 with a friend of mine, Sam Miller,” he said. “I was in a little folk group in high school. We did a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary stuff, Dylan, old folk songs. They wouldn’t let me sing, but I beat on the guitar a little bit.”

Holcombe’s music has been called “haunted country, acoustic blues and rugged folk” by Rolling Stone. Holcombe, however, has a simpler description.

“I just call it folk music,” he said. “It’s got fewer syllables. There’s all kinds of music in the world — different genres. It just depends on how much you’re paying your lawyer! Well, I ain’t got one so I just call it folk music.”

In February, Holcombe released his latest record, “Another Black Hole.” The album features an array of musicians: Jared Tyler (dobro, baritone guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmony vocals), Dave Roe (upright and electric bass), Ken Coomer (drums and percussion), Tony Joe White (electric guitar), Future Man (percussion) and Drea Merritt (vocal harmony).

The March 26 show will be a solo acoustic set from Holcombe. While he’s very happy with his present musical company, he’d also love to work with a classical icon.

“I’d like to hang around Beethoven,” he said. “I like a lot of his stuff. He seemed like he was kind of ahead of his time. I don’t drink anymore, but I bet he was probably known to have a slash or two himself.”

Through humility and effort, Holcombe has been able to make a career out of music while still maintaining his down-to-earth mindset.

“Well, I’m still working on the first part,” Holcombe said, laughing. “I’m a dishwasher by trade, or flipping burgers. It’s just that once again, by the gracious good Lord and all the fans and friends all over Pennsylvania and really the whole world — they’re the ones that keep our body and soul together on this end on this little old hill in western North Carolina. It’s the fans and friends that keep a roof over our head, food in our belly and clothes on our back.”

Holcombe’s quick wit and palpable positivity promise a solid installment of the ongoing Acoustic Brew series.

“There will probably be some cussing and some storytelling,” Holcombe said. “Hopefully, they can tap their foot and not get sucker punched.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Acoustic Brew Concerts series: Malcolm Holcombe
  • When: 7:30 p.m. March 26
  • Where: Center for Well Being, 123 Mount Nittany Road, Lemont
  • Info: acousticbrew.org
  Comments