For over ten years, Drew Holcomb has been churning out some of the best written Americana music in the country with his band, The Neighbors.
Following a strong run of his own releases, Drew struck out on a different path earlier this year, collaborating with Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, the married duo better known as JOHNNYSWIM, and up and coming band Penny & Sparrow on the EP Goodbye Road.
Songwriters of this quality generally produce tremendous work, and this collection of five songs is no exception. From first listen, it was obvious that egos were left at the door as songs were grown and crafted.
Fans around the Southeast were recently treated to performances from all three bands during The Goodbye Road Tour, a caravan of song that stopped in a dozen or so cities to highlight both their collaborative and individual talents.
I recently caught up with Drew to chat about the EP, songwriting with JOHNNYSWIM, and one of Charlottesville’s darkest days became inspiration for hope in song.
BRO – You recently came off the road and a run of shows with Penny & Sparrow. Something special about them as songwriters that jumps out to you?
DH – I love that they play by their own rules. They are clearly fans of a wide spectrum of music, from theatrical pop to alternative, and they don’t ever overdo it. Great songwriters use their influences like ingredients to cook original work. That is what these two do together. I love it.
BRO – What was the motivation behind doing this EP?
DH – People don’t collaborate enough, in my opinion. I have been friends with Abner and Amanda for a while and we share a mutual respect for each other’s work. We originally talked about just touring together. We decided that if we wanted to do that, we should try and write a song or two together. So I flew out to L.A. where they live to write a song. We ended up writing “Goodbye Road” and “Ring The Bells” in an evening and a morning. It was a blast.
BRO – We are featuring “Ring The Bells” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
DH – When I flew out to L.A., it was the day after the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville. All three of us had a ton of emotions surrounding the response of our national leadership. We were mostly angry. We tried to channel that into a song, but instead of being vindictive, we were trying to find some hope and solidarity. I hope we accomplished that.
BRO – Tell me about the songwriting process for the project.
DH – It was pretty simple. We all had ideas, words, thoughts, and stories that we channeled into the songs.
BRO – Any plans for future collaboration?
DH – I am very confident we will do something like this again. It was too much fun and too meaningful to us all not to give it another trip around the sun.
Since wrapping the tour with JOHNNYSWIM and Penny & Sparrow, Drew’s touring schedule will be pretty quiet until the end of August, where fans can catch him on the festival scene in the Southeast.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the new EP, Goodbye Road, as well as Drew’s most recent long player, Souvenir, which dropped last year. More information on both records, and Drew’s tour dates, can be found on his website.
And be sure to check out “Ring The Bells,” along with great new tracks from Israel Nash, Hot Buttered Rum, The Sea The Sea, and Oliver The Crow on this month’s Trail Mix.