For over ten years, Drew Holcomb has been churning out some of the best written Americana music in the country with his band, The Neighbors.Following a strong run of his own releases, Drew struck out on a different path earlier this year, collaborating with Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, the married duo better known as JOHNNYSWIM, and up and coming band Penny & Sparrow on the EP Goodbye Road.Songwriters of this quality generally produce tremendous work, and this collection of five songs is no exception. From first listen, it was obvious that egos were left at the door as songs were grown and crafted.Fans around the Southeast were recently treated to performances from all three bands during The Goodbye Road Tour, a caravan of song that stopped in a dozen or so cities to highlight both their collaborative and individual talents.I recently caught up with Drew to chat about the EP, songwriting with JOHNNYSWIM, and one of Charlottesville’s darkest days became inspiration for hope in song.BRO – You recently came off the road and a run of shows with Penny & Sparrow. Something special about them as songwriters that jumps out to you?DH – I love that they play by their own rules. They are clearly fans of a wide spectrum of music, from theatrical pop to alternative, and they don’t ever overdo it. Great songwriters use their influences like ingredients to cook original work. That is what these two do together. I love it.BRO – What was the motivation behind doing this EP?DH – People don’t collaborate enough, in my opinion. I have been friends with Abner and Amanda for a while and we share a mutual respect for each other’s work. We originally talked about just touring together. We decided that if we wanted to do that, we should try and write a song or two together. So I flew out to L.A. where they live to write a song. We ended up writing “Goodbye Road” and “Ring The Bells” in an evening and a morning. It was a blast.BRO – We are featuring “Ring The Bells” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?DH – When I flew out to L.A., it was the day after the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville. All three of us had a ton of emotions surrounding the response of our national leadership. We were mostly angry. We tried to channel that into a song, but instead of being vindictive, we were trying to find some hope and solidarity. I hope we accomplished that.BRO – Tell me about the songwriting process for the project.DH – It was pretty simple. We all had ideas, words, thoughts, and stories that we channeled into the songs.BRO – Any plans for future collaboration?DH – I am very confident we will do something like this again. It was too much fun and too meaningful to us all not to give it another trip around the sun.Since wrapping the tour with JOHNNYSWIM and Penny & Sparrow, Drew’s touring schedule will be pretty quiet until the end of August, where fans can catch him on the festival scene in the Southeast.In the meantime, be sure to check out the new EP, Goodbye Road, as well as Drew’s most recent long player, Souvenir, which dropped last year. More information on both records, and Drew’s tour dates, can be found on his website.And be sure to check out “Ring The Bells,” along with great new tracks from Israel Nash, Hot Buttered Rum, The Sea The Sea, and Oliver The Crow on this month’s Trail Mix.
Sharing is caring! 55 Views no discussions Share Tweet Share Share FaithLifestyleLocalNews Easter with the eyes of faith by: – April 24, 2011 Photo credit: CNN-online.org.ukAnother name for ritual is repetition. Rituals save us from starting from scratch every time something important to us needs commemoration. All we have to do is perform the ritual.It is said that we live in an age alien to this practice; and yet, when news of President Kennedy’s death reached the streets, to cite one famous example, impromptu candle processions formed everywhere. People did not turn in their grief to speech-making. They turned spontaneously to ritual. Holy Week is all ritual, culminating in the ceremony of darkness and light of Holy Saturday, and the great Exultet proclamation.Not every day is a day for significant ritual, where great deliberation goes into preparation and execution. Some days require it, and are incomplete without it. Easter would not be Easter if the accompaniments were just thurible and incense.At another level, every year, the details of the account in Scripture of the Resurrection are pored over. New explanations are often offered for some details, but the ground has essentially been covered before, and nothing really new emerges. The miracle remains the same: he is not here, he is risen!Easter ritual allows us to experience afresh the foundations of faith every time we commemorate the occasion. St. Paul put it simply and fundamentally in First Corinthians: “If Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain.” Your hope too, of course, but he didn’t have to say it.Some difference exists in the way the resurrection was experienced at the beginning and how later generations have done so. The single constant in all the early testimonies is an appeal to sight: “I have seen the Lord.” St. Paul felt excluded from this special band of witnesses, until his Damascus experience allowed him to say: “I too have seen.” It was a privileged, unrepeatable time, when the risen Lord was seen and, as John said in his First Letter, touched and verified.This does not mean that faith was not required. Early witnesses had to trust that their eyes were not deceiving them, that sight was not illusory. Nothing in their experience and tradition had led them to expect anything like it. The dialogue between the disciples on the road to Emmaus makes it clear that the crucifixion represented complete devastation. Then, a man whose brutal death was witnessed by crowds, who was buried in a sealed tomb, had reportedly returned to visit his companions. This is the man they now claimed to “see.”Faith then as now did not depend on proof. What proof could there have been? The moment of resurrection was not a visible event. No one could come forward as an eyewitness. The empty tomb did not constitute proof either. Other explanations were possible, as the gospels themselves indicate. The body could have been “taken away” by someone, as Mary lamented when she arrived at the tomb that morning.What faith attested to then was not an absence, but a special form of presence. This is the distinctive Easter fact in the gospels. It is what empowered the disciples, and it’s where the continuities in resurrection faith, past and present, crucially begin.Faith today responds to the resurrection as a continuing presence. The privilege of “seeing” is no longer ours. We cannot say “I too have seen the Lord.” What we can say is “I too have met him.” Presence now means that the Lord is accessible; he can be met; people keep meeting him, and meeting him continues to change their lives.The experience is something one must desire. St. Augustine set great store by desire in trying to explain the manner and the extent to which God pervades our lives. As Jesus once turned to ask the strangers following him: “What is it that you seek?” Such desiring takes many forms. Doing so actively and deliberately in prayer is one way. More ordinarily perhaps, it’s a matter of what loyalties one perseveres in surrendering to, how one keeps one’s heart inclined and oriented.The experience also transforms. The early witnesses were considered drunk because of change the resurrection had effected in them. Conversion, which is really resurrection encounter by another name, clearly also testifies to this. When it occurs, the experience is always felt as amazing; it transforms blindness into sight, and it brings the convert into a life of new, enlightened awareness.It is such witnesses, who have met the Lord, and are continually transformed by him, who are “sent.” Who else will make the world over; who else can possibly transform it? Such witnessing is a way of saying to the world: ‘I am the message I preach.’ I am reminded here of St. Francis’ instruction to his followers as he once sent them out: preach the gospel by all means possible, he said, and if it’s really necessary, you could even use words.Evangelization is essentially not a matter of giving doctrine. It works in a far more holistic way through the witness displayed in a life. It is life, not doctrine, that attracts and persuades. Method and approach are always important in evangelization, but lives transformed by resurrection faith will always be the surest and best of its techniques.By: Father Henry Charles Ph.d