For our fifth and final interview with Drew Holcomb for our inaugural Artist in Residence series, we asked the singer-songwriter to tell us about a few of his hand-picked recommendations. From artists he’s discovered through NoiseTrade to openers he’s become fans of through their live performance to his top three concerts and albums, read on to find out if Holcomb’s favorites might be (or become) some of your own.
Don’t forget, you can still hear Holcomb’s entire catalog until the end of August: https://noisetrade.com/drewholcomb
NoiseTrade: As someone who has both been involved with NoiseTrade for quite some time and also is quick to shine a light on other new bands that you enjoy, what are a couple artists or albums that you were turned onto through NoiseTrade?
Drew Holcomb: I was an early adopter because I was a fan of Derek Webb when the idea first happened. I have downloaded dozens of artists there, but I believe Noisetrade is where I first heard David Ramirez, who became one of my favorite songwriters. A friend recommended it to me via a song called “Stick Around.” The discovery piece of Noisetrade, the grassroots nature of entrusting your email address to an artist, giving them the capacity to keep you in the loop on their tours etc, is a great fan to artist trade off, and starts a conversation. David has toured with us and is a massively under appreciated songwriter and artist.
NT: As far as established artists, do you have a couple favorite NoiseTrade releases that you’ve picked up over the years from artists or bands that you were already a fan of?
Holcomb: Yeah all the time. Matthew Perryman Jones, Penny and Sparrow, The Oh Hellos, and many more.
NT: You’ve played shows with a ton of other bands, so I won’t ask you to pick a “favorite” opener out of all of them. However, do you have a couple memories of bands that you didn’t have prior knowledge of that just blew you away the first time you heard them play live before one of your shows?
Holcomb: Penny and Sparrow had the most spellbinding first impression of our many opening acts. They were added as a first of three on a show in Houston Texas and we sat backstage gape-mouthed at their performance. They then went on tour with us multiple times all over the country. We have had a lot of great opening acts, but a few that really kicked me in the teeth over and over were David Ramirez, Sean McConnell, and Colony House.
NT: How about as an audience member. What are the top three live concert moments you’ve experienced as just a fan?
Holcomb: Tom Waits at The Ryman in 2006. One of the most iconic musicians alive. Mesmerizing and intoxicating performance. U2 at Glasgow Stadium in 2005. I waited eight hours in line for a General Admission standing spot amidst a summer crowd of 80,000. I was about 10 feet from the front row, they played my favorite of their lesser known tracks (“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”) for the first time in over 20 years. Also, I’ve seen Springsteen six times and any of them are among the best. Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park in Atlanta is another one. It poured rain for half the show but we didn’t care.
NT: Finally, casting as wide a net as possible on your own musical tastes, what are the three definitive albums that you think everyone should listen to at least once?
Holcomb: Tom Petty’s Wildflowers – It’s a statement of simple elegance, subtle wordsmith, melodic comfort. It’s the record I have played the most from top to bottom since I was young. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On – while it helps to contextualize this record as the turning point of Gaye going from being a classic “pop” singer to becoming a full fledged artist, you dont have to have that context to be overwelmed by the courage, groove, power, and politics of this record. U2’s Achtung Baby – This is my favorite U2 record, I think its better than The Joshua Tree. It takes more chances, and it can do that because I think the songs and melodies are more mature and haunting and honest.