Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors to perform Druid City's third show this weekBy Christina Ausley | 09/27/2017 11:16pm
As a young Drew Holcomb sat on the floor of his Memphis home, pushing cherry red toy firetrucks back and forth, he dreamed of becoming a firefighter.
Years later, this Thursday, although not a firefighter, Holcomb will still speed toward Tuscaloosa, step onto the stage under the red and white lights of Druid City Music Hall, and instead, light the stage on fire with his country-influenced rock 'n' roll.
“I’ve been touring all over the U.S. and especially the South for the last 12 years,” Holcomb said. “We’ve always had great reception from the state of Alabama, especially in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, and we really look forward to coming back.”
Though Holcomb initially wasn’t sure where his music would take him, he casually began performing after college in the hopes of somehow figuring out what he wanted to do with his life.
“After college, I honestly didn’t know what to do,” Holcomb said. “Music was always the thing I loved, so I got a job in a music studio in Memphis and did cover songs in bars, here I am 14 years later, and I’m so grateful to be able to do something I love each and every day.”
After hearing himself on the radio for the very first time, Holcomb quickly realized his music would take him much further than he initially expected.
“You spend your life listening to music,” Holcomb said. “In middle school I remember listening to my idols like Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan on the radio, and I’d mimic them in my music. Soon I started working on my own unique voice, and then I heard that same unique voice and our own unique sound on the radio one day, and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, it was surreal.”
As a collective band, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors meld the different music they love together to create a variety of country and rock 'n' roll vibes, creating their own spin on alternative folk-rock.
“At its core, it’s storytelling,” Holcomb said. “We’ve been doing it for a long time, so every night is a different set and we can have fun with it.”
Despite a variety of roadblocks throughout the journey, the band is grateful for their success and thankful for the memories along the way.
“We’ve probably had something like 50 busted tires on the road,” Holcomb said with a laugh. “But the good things along the way outweigh the bad things by far. We’re touring with Willie Nelson later this fall, and what a mountain moment that’ll be for us.”
One such memory Holcomb cherishes was an opening performance of “Tennessee,” in which he sang of his home state for a crowd of thousands.
“It was the first time we headlined with 'Tennessee,'” Holcomb said. “I put the microphone aside, sat on the stage, and sang along with 2,400 other people joining in. I’m not sure anything will ever top that particular memory; it was a very emotional and joyful moment for me.”
Inspired by individuals like Bruce Springsteen, Holcomb hopes to create music well into his 80s while maintaining a down-to-earth persona, despite the chaos that can sometimes accompany the life of a band on tour.
“Springsteen inspires me because he’s had a remarkable career, but has also maintained a family and been a real, true human in the process,” Holcomb said. “His stamina and creativity is something I’ll always aspire and push to obtain.”
As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Holcomb looks forward to playing at a rival school like The University of Alabama, where he finds a unique energy that always creates a fun atmosphere for the band as a whole.
“I’ve seen a lot of artists live but I’m especially excited for Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors to come to Tuscaloosa,” said Gia Diaz, a junior majoring in biology and Spanish. “They’re an incredibly unique band with a combination of a bunch of different sounds, while maintaining a balance between emotion and energy in each of their performances.