Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has a stellar week of live performances to make the end of summer a little easier to bear. Club Passim is offering a champion fiddler in Mike Block on Wednesday, September 11, a free show on Thursday, September 12, a Nashville songwriter and storyteller in Christopher Williams on Friday, September 13, and two shows from Brooklyn-based musician Peter Bradley Adams on Saturday, September 14.
I recently had the honor of speaking with singer-songwriter and musician, Malcolm Holcombe, who is appearing at Club Passim with singer-songwriter Darryl Purpose on Thursday, September 12 at 8 p.m. Malcolm’s is called ‘Down the River.’
You’ve been in the music industry a long time. ‘Down the River’ is your ninth studio album. I understand this all started with a guitar in North Carolina.
Yes, that’s where I was born and raised in a small town north of Asheville, Western North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains. I’ve been very blessed and very grateful to be able to play a little bit and make up some tunes over the years.
Tell me about your latest album, ‘Down the River.’ What inspired you to make this album and what do you hope people can take home from it?
I was very displeased with the current administration at that time, and so I was kind of reaching for a disadvantaged poor man’s point of view which is much like 98 or 99% of America. Some folks are scared to express their opinion whether it be in the songwriter vain or whether it be in your daily walk of life, so I think that the old saying that ignorance is bliss. I am hoping to try to enlighten myself as well as others, but that’s very subjective. So this album really was created by the grace of the good Lord and a lot of friends and family that have helped this old boy and his family. I am just trying to achieve a little step in the ladder of truth.
Which song would you say sends the strongest message?
The song, ‘Down the River’ is very good. My wife Cynthia is good at seeing the forest through the trees. She decided that would be a good album title.
Club Passim is a very reputable room for artist and songwriters. The northeast has been good to us over the years. This is the first time that I get to perform at Club Passim. I am looking forward to it and I’m grateful for all those that are responsible for keeping this old boy off the couch.
My latest album ‘Down the River’ was cut in Nashville, Tennessee with Ray Kennedy producing. Ray has produced several records and I’m very grateful for him. I trust him in the music industry and he really gets it.
Ray’s been working with Steve Earle and I have been very fortunate to work with Viktor Krause on bass. He is an astounding virtuoso. Glad to work with some of the finest musicians that play with heart and soul. Harold Scott is a songwriter within himself, a very pertinent and very soulful fellow. Russ Pahl is on electric guitar.
Tammy Rogers-King is also playing mandolin and fiddle. She's from East Tennessee. I've known her for years and she's real champion with that mandolin and fiddle.
I am very humbled that Emmy Lou Harris can sing on a song. Steve Earle was very kind to offer a duet on ‘Trail of Money.’ It really blows me away to have an opportunity to share this music at Club Passim.
We cut the album in about four days last fall and I’m just kind of being of service in this old world, very grateful to all the fans and friends that have been so kind and generous and also forgiving. I’ll be sharing the stage with Darryl Purpose, a contender and a great songwriter, so I’m looking forward to the show.
Club Passim is a wonderful venue. It’s a non-profit featuring music all year long with all different kinds of artists, and Passim School of Music. What are your future plans? Are you working on a new album?
Yes, I am working on a new record and I hope to have it released in the near future. Just wait and see what the dog has in his mouth.
Join Malcolm Halcolm and many other talented musicians this week at Club Passim. Easily accessible via train in Harvard Square, Club Passim offers exclusive offers and more with a Passim membership. Visit www.passim.org for a full schedule of upcoming artists and information on Passim School of Music.