Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors have just the solution for whatever is ailing you with their newest release, Medicine.
The group is on their own tour for now, but will soon join up with NEEDTOBREATHE, Switchfoot, Ben Rector, and Colony House on the much-anticipated Tour De Compadres.
Holcomb grew up in Memphis and now lives in Nashville when he’s not touring all over the world. He recently returned from a tour of the British Isles and was kind enough to speak with us about his career and why he thinks this album is their best work yet.
– 1 –
SB: You’ve been saying this is your best work yet, what gives you this confidence?
DH: One is the confidence that comes with age, we’ve been doing this for 10 or 11 years and there’s a lot more confidence in what I want to say and who we are. There is less need to prove ourselves in the marketplace of ideas. We just want to do something really good that reflects the capacity that the band has as musicians and what I’ve learned as a songwriter.
The second thing is the approach we had and the creative process, we approached the record very differently than we have in the past. We worked on one song at a time in the studio until it was finished. We were able to completely focus in on that one song. We had one rule, nobody can say “I’ll fix that later.” We said “Fix it now, we’ll play it until we get it right.” That gave the work a lot of clarity and space to breathe.
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SB: This is your fourth studio album, so how do you keep the creative juices flowing? Are you always writing or do you take time off to refocus?
DH: : I typically take a break from writing from when I finish an album to about six months after it comes out. We tend to release an album every two years so I take about a year off from writing. As far as getting the creative juices flowing, all I have to do is live life with the people that are in my community, and in my band, and in my family. There’s always something new that can capture and inspire. I listen to a lot of music and I’m continually inspired by other people’s work. There are two ways to listen to music if you are a music-maker: unhealthy and healthy. The healthy side is celebrating other people’s creative ideas and the unhealthy side is jealousy.
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SB: Talk about the upcoming Tour de Compadres with NEEDTOBREATHE, Ben Rector, Colony House, and Switchfoot. Have you toured with all these guys before?
DH: I’ve toured with everybody in the group except for Switchfoot. Ben and I did a co-headlining tour in 2011 that was really fun. That’s how we started our friendship. He went on a tour with NEEDTOBREATHE the next year and I’ve toured with them twice, once was solo acoustic and the other was with the full band. Our fans share the same ethos, their fans like what we do a lot and vice versa. Though they have a lot more fans because they have been doing it for a while and have been very successful. And Colony House has toured with us also.
It’s really an appropriately named tour because we are all good friends. I’ve never toured with Switchfoot but there is some mutual admiration there. I’m a big fan of Jon Foreman and his writing.
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SB: Your wife Ellie is now a rising star in the Contemporary Christian scene and tours separately. How do you guys cope with being in totally different parts of the country and what is it like to be touring without her after eight years of touring together?
DH: We have a great management team that helps us. We try to be gone at the same time so we can be home at the same time. And if I don’t have a show and she does I try to fly out to see her or vice versa. Fortunately, most of her shows are on the weekend so her touring is less demanding than ours (besides her future tour with Third Day that will be demanding) so she is home four or five days a week which is great. After spending eight years on tour together, being together 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, I think we both have welcomed some space so that we can miss each other and cheer each other on. We have actually enjoyed this new season and it’s made our time together all the more special.
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SB: You have one daughter and another child on the way, what are some albums and artists that you think will be essential for your kids to listen to?
DH: We already have tons of playlists with great songs that we are using to teach her from an early age. One of the key ingredients of a great musical upbringing is the classics, so, Soul music with The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, The Staple Singers, The Jackson 5. There’s so much great music from the 60s and 70s. It has always been on the stereo for me and will continue to be.
And then records like Tom Waits’ Closing Time, The Jayhawks’ Rainy Day Music, Patty Griffin’s Thousand Kisses, Carole King’s Tapestry, and James Taylor. I want my daughter to be a walking encyclopedia of music, and if she’s not, that’s totally ok, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
Drew’s album can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, or at your local record store.