Songs:Illinois is the best mp3 blog on the internet. Sounds a bit conceited, huh? But it’s not far from the truth, at least for me. What I’ve realized (and it’s no great light bulb moment) is that the songs I share on Songs:Illinois are the best songs available that fit my particular likes and dislikes. They may be old fashioned to some or at the very least outdated to others and to most just plain irrelevant. But that’s not what I hear. And really that’s what an mp3 blog should be, shouldn’t it? A repository for all your favorite songs and not a place for old press releases to come and die or countless random tour date listings or endless contests and self promotion. When I look back through my archives I see bands that have mostly been ignored by mainstream media but who all have something to say, usually that something is about a thousand times more important and compelling than what you might hear on the radio, on a corporate website or even in an alt-weekly.
For instance Malcolm Holcombe has been making music for 30 plus years and his brand of folk blues is neither in fashion nor particularly modern. But after thirty years of writing and performing he’s just about got it right. His voice sounds like it’s been ruined by 50 years of whiskey and cigarettes, his songs sound like they’ve been put through a decrepit time machine and just barely come out alive and his weathered face seems to show every hard mile he’s traveled in pursuit of his dream. Amazingly after 30 odd years his dream may be closer to reality than ever. That’s because his upcoming full length record, Gamblin’ House, is coming out on the promising new label Echo Mountain on January 15. Hopefully the label knows what it has in Malcolm Holcombe and promotes this thing right. While we wait for that full length, Malcolm has released a new ep, Wager, that’s available now through his website and on Amazon. “I Feel Like A Train” is the first song on the ep and it describes the author’s hardscrabble life on the road and relates it to how a train must feel at the end of the line. Buy Wager or any of Malcolm Holcombe’s self-released cds here. Holcombe stops in at The Red Line Tap in Chicago on October 19.