Drew Holcomb - The Bullingdon, Oxford
Many more people than know it, especially in the US, will have come across Drew Holcomb’s music. Having been around for the best part of a decade supplying tunes for shows like House and How I Met Your Mother, while supporting acts of the Ryan Adams and The Avett Brothers variety, Holcomb has certainly been laying down some markers.
Yet those flirtations with the mainstream haven't resulted in much chart action for the man from Memphis, though 2013’s Good Light and the recently released Medicine are slowly making some inroads. Having made this trip to the UK sans backing band The Neighbors, it’s that new record that gets the focus tonight in Oxford - to the benefit of the audience, as it’s his most melodic and well-rounded record so far.
Opening act Bethany Weimers is a delight, she has the songs to support the quality of her clear-as-glass voice; at a time when delightful singer songwriters are very on trend it’d be a surprise not to hear more from her soon. And one of the features of Holcomb’s show is his outstanding voice, coming to the fore on the beautiful ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ and ‘Nothing But Trouble’ when he and the only other Neighbor to make it, sideman Nathan Dugger, unplug themselves completely.
Over the 75 minute set the freezing cold venue is filled with real warmth and good feelings from the stage. ‘Another Man’s Shoes’ elicits a genuine gasp from the audience; ‘Here We Go’ has full on audience participation (“That was better than London”); ‘Heartbreak’ is powerful and uplifting. That the Tennessee singer undoubtedly seems one of the good guys - he talks about the World Vision charity near the end of the show - just enhances the feeling that this is one of the most genuine shows you’ll see this year. Good medicine, for sure.