Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors - Good Light Tour

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors

The night we played Bonnaroo a couple years ago, I sat with my younger brother Sam,
my wife Ellie, and a few other dear friends, reclining in plastic lawn chairs in the midnight
Tennessee heat outside our tour bus, drinking wine and listening to music. After a decade of
touring, (over 1700 shows) and making records, it’s easy to forget the magic of music. We took
turns introducing each other to new bands and artists, talking about our lives, our dreams, our
Music has always had a medicinal quality to me, and that’s why I started writing songs
and touring in the first place. I first needed the medicine when I was seventeen. I lost a brother
that summer, 1999. He was a great kid, lived life from the view of a wheelchair, and was gone
without warning a few days before his 14th birthday. I took lots of medicine, from Radiohead
and Bob Dylan, from Pearl Jam and Otis Redding, from Bob Marley to the Temptations, Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers to Rage Against the Machine. I played the guitar in my bedroom,
learned songs I loved, sang along in my car alone or with a friend.
A year later I went to college in Knoxville and I became an addict. I was introduced to the
medicine of Patty Griffin, Whiskeytown, Springsteen, Tom Waits, the Jayhawks, Wilco, Beck
and hundreds more that could fill pages. I went and saw their shows and played their records
over and over and over. The honesty, the intellect, the stories, the raw emotion, the rhythm, the
vulnerability; it all made me feel like I was not alone. Music was a way of saying, “me too,” a
way of finding hope and meaning in the sorrow and confusion of life.
Somewhere in those late college years, I started writing songs, at first feeble attempts,
but it grew and grew, and I got better and better. I booked shows, I made myself vulnerable and
stood onstage and sang earnest songs about love and joy, pain and tragedy. I convinced myself
that making medicine was something I could take a swing at. After graduating, over a cup of
coffee, I asked my dentist father what he thought about my dream, and he asked me one
“Are you going to work hard at that?”
“Yes sir.” I replied.
“Well let’s go to the guitar shop and I’ll buy you the best one I can afford.”
I hit the road, and I hit it hard. I found a band of agile, competent musicians whose
musical library is vast and deep and demanding. Along the way, I married the girl I always
wanted. She quit her teaching job and joined the band, toured with us for seven great years. We
made several records, and spent the majority of the last decade on the road. You may have
heard our music on TV. We’ve had our songs on dozens of shows like Nashville, Parenthood,
How I Met Your Mother. We have toured with artists like the Avett Brothers, John Hiatt,
Needtobreathe, and a host of other kindred souls. We have sold out our own shows in places
from Chicago to Austin, LA to New York, London to Denver, on stages we never dreamed we
would play, and selling over 100,000 records in the process, all while staying independent. Our
music is simple and heartfelt, built to inhabit people’s day to day lives, like so many of the
records I have loved over the long haul in my own life.

Medicine is by far the best music we have ever made. When I played it for a respected
friend, I asked, “What do you think?” The response was,
“It sounds like it’s always been there.”
We recorded the whole album in eight days, co-produced by the band and Joe Pisapia
(Ben Folds, KD Lang, Guster, Josh Rouse) at Joe’s Middletree Studios, in East Nashville, about
a mile from my house. We recorded one song at a time, until it was finished. No studio tricks,
just me and a great band working together, creating, having fun, embracing the sorrow. It’s
always been about the song for us, a community of musicians surrounding that song and
bringing it life, trying to make it sound like it has always been there. The twelve songs on Medicine deal with loyalty, hardship, marriage, friendship, feeling
like an outsider, and wrestling with God. “You’ll Always Be My Girl” is a love song to my bride
Ellie, who after eight years on the road with us, is stepping away from the band. I came up with
the first line when I was playing with our daughter Emmylou before putting her to bed. I wasn’t
trying to write a song, just entertaining her and I came up with the first line – ‘from the start of
spring to the autumn leaves, and the summers and winters between…” After tucking her in, I
dashed off the rest of the song in 45 minutes. It was the night before we went into the studio for
the last time. When Ellie got home, I played it for her. She loved it, and we cried together for a
moment and celebrated what we’ve got and what we’re grateful for.
The next day, I taught it to the band, and we recorded the 24-hour-old song in one take.
Nathan Dugger on piano, Rich Brinsfield on upright bass and me singing, just sitting in a circle.
That ethos embodies the whole experience of making this record.
“Shine Like Lightning” is a song about us being an underdog band, never embraced by
the powers of radio, major labels, large corporate sponsorships, and in light of that we have a
healthy chip on our shoulder. But our music making has brought us, and our fans, a lot of
happiness, it seems. This is an ode to ten years of doing it our own way, on our own terms, in
spite of the roadblocks of cynicism and criticism, those who would “take something beautiful and
make it feel small.” It’s an anthem for our band and our fans, that we are going to “Shine Like
Lightning!” critics and cynics be damned.
Breaking with my previous autobiographical songwriting bent, I wrote songs like
“Heartbreak” and “Sister Brothers,” based on the experiences of friends instead. Elsewhere,
“American Beauty” looks back on the nostalgia and loss of a teenage romance. The grooving,
call-and-response “Here We Go” was inspired by that particular night shared with friends at
Medicine closes with “When It’s All Said and Done.” It’s about questioning whether God
is real and whether he cares about us or not … and not walking away from that, but holding on
to it like you’re hanging on to the side of a cliff, and that’s where I find myself at this point.
More than anything else, Medicine is born out of the stories we are told.
The email from a fan who was on the verge on suicide but our song gave her glimmer of hope to
keep hanging on. The story by the bus of fans who danced their first dance to another one of
our songs. The mom who sings our music to her kids before they go to sleep, begging for peace
and health and a happy life. The people who dance in the back of the rock club and have a
moment of joy in a world of suffering. We only hope to add to the soundtrack, in the same way
that all those artists and bands have done for me. Making medicine,
Music, it makes you feel good, makes you feel understood
like you’re not alone, not a rolling stone, you’re not the only one on the road.

A man and his guitar…honest, unfiltered and true. In a landscape filled with Top 40 beats and harmonizing folk groups, a lone singer-songwriter definitely has his work cut out for him. But David Ramirez isn't looking to top the charts. He just wants to tell the truth.
"I grew up on 90's alternative radio. It was fun and easy. Then in college someone gave me a Ryan Adams record, which led me to discover artists like Bob Dylan. From those guys I learned about the power of words and melody and their ability to affect change in people. That honesty made me want to connect with people through music".

Being just as drawn to artists like Dylan and Adams as he is to The National and Arcade Fire is perhaps what draws both young college crowds and folk traditionalists to his live shows. In 2012, Ramirez played over 175 shows in theaters, clubs, bars and listening rooms from Burlington, VT to San Diego, CA. A Fall 2012 co-headline tour with Noah Gundersen saw many sell-out shows and grew his loyal fan base. "I've been humbled by the response I've received from people. Not only do they come to a show or two but they seem to be in it for the long haul. Touring can be tough, but knowing that people around the country are excited to be a part of my music brings so much joy and meaning to the miles".

Ramirez's career has spanned 2 full lengths and 3 EP's. His 2012 independently released album, Apologies debuted at #2 on iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts and #23 on Billboard Folk, garnering praise from The New York Times, American Songwriter and PASTE. Hometown magazine Austin Monthly calls Ramirez "one of Americana's great undiscovered songwriters…" His latest release is The Rooster EP. Produced in 6 days by Ramirez and Danny Reisch (Shearwater, Okkervill River, White Denim), the 5 songs explore new sounds and test the limits of the folk/singer-songwriter genre. "The songs themselves are still rooted in folk, but I wanted to experiment with different sounds and textures. It's subtle but it's strong".

David Ramirez knows no luxury. All he needs is an acoustic guitar and the words in his mouth to share his story. One that is honest, unfiltered and true.

$12.00 - $23.00


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Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors - Good Light Tour with David Ramirez

Thursday, October 31 · Doors 6:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM at World Cafe Live Philadelphia