Medicine by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors

drew holcomb

by John Ellis

With Medicine, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors continue to confirm pretty much everyone’s strong suspicion that the mainstream music industry has an agenda that has very little to do with actual music. How else can it be explained that possibly this past decade’s most enjoyably accessible band without sacrificing true artistry and musicianship is still “indie” with an almost non-existent radio presence? Don’t misunderstand; I know indie bands that would give their non-guitar strumming body parts for Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ level of success. Successful tours (including headlining sold-out shows at the Ryman), songs featured on commercials and popular TV shows[1], and lots of ink spilled about them in publications like Relevant, Paste, and Rolling Stone Country have put the Nashville based band on the radar of many people, but success in the form of major label backing, radio airplay, and corporate sponsorships have alluded Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors[2]. If Medicine doesn’t change that, the band’s continually growing popularity among people who actually like music may very well become a new market paradigm that hastens the toppling of an incredibly myopic and top-heavy music industry. In other words, Mr. Important Music Executive who’s not reading this, for possibly your own survival reasons and your continued ability to pay the mortgage on your Malibu beach house, do not sleep on Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors and the band’s latest album, Medicine.

My initial introduction to Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors was at Bonnaroo 2013. My friend and I had made our way to That Tent in order to push our way up front by the start of the Dwight Yoakam concert. When we got there an energetic band with a long name that neither one of us had heard of was playing. Before the first song was over, we were pushing our way to the front because of Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, who, by the way, proved to be a much better concert experience than Dwight Yoakam. In fact, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbor’s Bonnaroo performance is one of the highlights out of my many concert experiences in my life. Arriving home after the festival, one of the first things I did was convert my wife to being a fan of the band, which took as much effort as was needed to hit “play” on a YouTube video; we then promptly ordered two of their LPs[3].

The band integrates the fun of pop with the deep running feelings of country built on the sturdy foundation of Americana – all that, and Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors also have the wherewithal to throw in a dash of radio-friendly rock and roll. Drew’s voice is as friendly as any crooner’s voice as you can imagine. And, the lyrics, well, I’ve gone back and read and reread the lyrics to all twelve tracks on Medicine, and I continue to marvel at Drew Holcomb’s ability to craft songs that speak to most everyone without devolving into the trite and bland.

It probably goes without stating, but I pre-ordered Medicine[4] as a dedicated fan; I didn’t need any reviews to help me make up my mind before I hit “order.” And I don’t think that you do either. Look, this isn’t so much a review as it is a completely biased fan gushing over an excellent new album from one of his favorite bands; and that’s ok, because at this point in this site’s history, the vast majority of the readers have shared a beer or two with me. Besides, nothing that I or any other music “critic” has to say about Medicine is going to be as eloquent as what the band says with their music when you click “play” on the YouTube video featured below.

However, if the above video hasn’t convinced you to buy Medicine, allow me some music writer indulgence, and I’ll attempt to convince you with a few short words – Medicine is awesome and you should buy it! In fact, here’s a convenient link where you can place your order:

[1] Dick’s Sporting Goods and Parenthood, to give one example from each category.

[2] To be fair, I’m not exactly sure that the band wants those things. In pretty much every interview I’ve read, I’ve been left with the impression that Drew wants to be an indie band – for reals, not like “Oh, I’m going to pretend so that I can keep my cred in front of the fans” kind of way.

[3] Good Light and Chasing Someday – I encourage you to order those two excellent albums as well. We have since acquired A Neighborly Christmas – my favorite Christmas album out of the dozen or so Christmas albums that I own.

[4] I had asked the editors of a music site that I write for to get an advanced copy for me to review. I don’t know if they forgot, or if they decided that Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors is outside the typical genre of music the site covers (it is, for the record). Regardless of why, I’m happy it worked out this way – now the review goes on my website, although I’m sure the band would much prefer the review to be on an established website. Whatever. Love you, Mr. Holcomb!


One thought on “Medicine by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors

  1. […] Entering 2015, Medicine was the album I was anticipating the most. If you had asked me on January 1 where it would’ve ranked on my favorite albums of the first quarter of 2015, I would probably have said #1. The fact that it’s at #4 says far more about the albums ahead of it than it says about this addictive album from Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. Read my review here. […]


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