Drew Holcomb concert rewards audience

Photo Courtesy of DualTone Records

When it comes to acoustic rock music and new bands, the group Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors from Nashville, Tennessee does not immediately come to mind in most cases. That may change in the very near future. This past weekend, they performed at the 40-Watt Club in downtown Athens before releasing their new album on Tuesday the 19th. Though the 40-Watt accommodates a sizeable audience, the band sold it out completely for the first time in the venue’s history.

The tickets sold for around $13, but the group put on a show worthy of much more, and their new album can certainly attest to their skill—it has been on the iTunes list of Top Ten Albums since its release.

The band sold out the 40-Watt completely for the first time in the venue’s history.

So, who are they? The band consists of just five members. The lead singer and songwriter, Drew Holcomb, started it all out of Memphis around nine years ago. His wife Ellie stands alongside him on the stage, singing backup and playing the mandolin, or even singing lead for some songs. Drew Holcomb has released eight albums (both studio and live recordings) as of this week, and the band has headlined in the southeast for national acts such as Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers, Pat Green and more.

The concert at the 40-Watt, with an opener by local artist Emily Hearn, had a relatively relaxed atmosphere, analogous to the musical style and attitudes of the performers. Holcomb played some of his older and more recognized songs first, before introducing the band and speaking to the audience. But rather than simply saying thanks or talking about a particular song, Drew and Ellie told stories up on stage, which granted them a unique and more personal connection with the audience. Their down-to-earth charisma made the stories hilarious, entertaining and heartfelt—Drew explained the difficulties of getting Ellie to date him, and then proceeded to play the song he wrote for her to win her heart all those years ago.

Though their new album was not to be released until this past Tuesday, the band sold it a few days early to the concert-goers, along with past CDs, t-shirts and hats. This simple act really demonstrated to the audience that Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors care about their fans and listeners, and are willing to bend the rules a little to reward them for coming to their show.

If the concert this past week was any indication, then fans can definitely expect big things from this band in the future.

After explaining the new album, the band played a few of the best songs from it, which everyone seemed to enjoy. However, the most popular older songs, like “Live Forever,” “Fire and Dynamite” and “Anywhere But Here,” were saved for the end of the show. Drew Holcomb’s friendliness and matter-of-fact attitude made the show enjoyable and relaxing, but ultimately it was the music itself that made a lasting impression.

With lyrics that stick with you even after the song ends, catchy melodies that anyone can sing along to and great musical talent involving guitars, drums, banjo, piano, bass and mandolin, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors impressed everyone at the 40-Watt, from diehard fans to college kids just looking for some good music.

If the concert this past week was any indication, fans can expect for venues bigger than the 40-Watt to sell out in the future. Watch for big things on the horizon for Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors.