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Malcolm Holcombe

A Conversation with Malcolm Holcombe (continued)

PM: As far as guitar sounds go, I sure like hearing the kind of natural bluesy tone like Sam's got on "Woman Missin'" more so than the high gain sounds of the 80s and 90s. Do you feel like that too?

MH: Well, I--I just know he's his own stylist, man, and he's humble and can see the forest for the trees. And then, when he plays, he puts his own trip on it, and he just kind of puts more oxygen in the bloodstream of the tune, in other words, just really helps it to breathe and live and just go ahead and do somersaults. He gives that thing a real taste. He's the mortar in that brick. The brick house, you know, it's shaking a little bit, but that mortar is going to stand right there. That house has got a strong foundation, but it's got his own character. There ain't another house like that in all this planet.

PM: And he's--

MH: He just made that house a home, just put some warm blood in it, and--blood in that mortar. And he can just rock that thing, man, he can just sweeten it up just like a halo, put a halo over that thing, or he can jab you in the butt with a pitchfork if you need it, and say, "Hey, wait a minute, now--"

PM: [laughs]

MH: "Let's check this out right here and poke you a couple of times." But I mean, that halo still just shines, it's bright. Yeah, there's a little pitchfork in there, going to jab you a little bit in the butt--

PM: That's funny.

MH: --just to keep you awake.

PM: And he's got such a fine-tuned transmitter, I know his ears are burning right now, with your fine words about him, I know they're burning.

MH: Well, it's the truth. I mean, it's just my perspective. That's my way of thinking.

PM: And it was amazing after he's been so long gone to see those great cuts come out with Joe Compito on them.

MH: A beautiful man. A good friend. And I miss him. I still think of Joe every day.

PM: Yeah, I loved that guy. He was a good friend of mine. [A great musician and luthier, Joe was a beloved Nashville figure. Among other instruments, he made beautiful basses for the great Victor Wooten, twice voted best bassist on the planet. Joe died suddenly from an aneurysm some years back, he was in his thirties.]

MH: Yeah, man, it was terrible thing. He was playing with Don Williams.

PM: Yeah.

MH: I love Don.

PM: Yeah, talk about a deep well.

MH: Yeah.

PM: What about prose writers, Malcolm? Are there prose writers who have turned you on in the past or in the present?

MH: Oh, man, Thomas Wolfe, and all the classics, of course.

PM: Thomas Wolfe. It's always interesting to see who somebody says first.

MH: Yeah. I like him, and Mark Twain.

PM: Reading anything at the moment?

MH: No, I'm not.

PM: Doesn't Cynthia work at a bookstore, didn't I hear that?

MH: Yes, she does. And she's got a wonderful library here. I go through spells, like you probably do too, sometimes you talk on the phone, sometimes you go out there and mess around in the yard or...

PM: Yeah, it comes in spurts.

MH: Yeah. But with wintertime coming on, I'm looking forward to hunkering down on a book or two. And Cynthia's always got a book going, my wife, and she's a wonderful influence on me, the angel of my life, her and the little boy.

PM: How long you been married now?

MH: Since February 14th.

PM: Oh, Valentine's Day. That's my dead dad's birthday.

MH: Yeah, it's just the way it worked out. I looked down and I just picked this date and then looked a little bit closer and the fine print said "Valentine's Day." So that's when we tied the knot with a Baptist preacher out of Weaverville, Jim McCoy. He's the real McCoy.

PM: Before we get off the subject of Cynthia, you want tell us anything special about her or what marriage this marriage has done for you?

MH: Oh, she's the most beautiful devoted wife to me, and she's closer to me than my own heart.

PM: Lord.

MH: Her heart beats right there with mine, I mean, every beat, it's just beating as one, and that feels good.

PM: Boy, you're a lucky man.

MH: There's no luck in this world, no luck. You know there ain't.

PM: Yeah.

MH: Most people just say that because they--to keep their tongue exercised or something.

PM: [laughs]

MH: And I'm real good at flapping my tongue. But, yeah, she's--Cynthia Margaret's an angel of mine.

PM: Wow.   continue

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