RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Friday, February 22

SONG OF THE DAY: I Don't Wanna Disappear

Malcolm Holcombe’s a dude I’ve listened to a lot the past few years, looking like the type of dude who would be getting high with my folks back in the day. Americana music is tough because there’s so much shit that falls under the “real country to the urban pie shoppe set” that people used to always try to hype me up about. I call this “the drive-by trucker rule” where because some shit is about the rural south, but not being a brainwashed racial patriot, I should like it. The problem is a lot of that stuff is… I don’t know, it’s just missing something that’s not missing in me, or it has something that I don’t, or something’s not synchronized. It feels false to my heart, and I know people love that shit, but fuck man I don’t like DTB nor Jason Isbell, and for god’s sake Sturgill Simpson’s dad was an undercover narcotics agent in eastern Kentucky, so he’s automatically disqualified, for at least another generation.

But Malcolm Holcombe has whatever that other shit’s missing, at least for me. Maybe it’s geographic. He’s from western Carolina, which feels connected enough to the Piedmont foothills Virginia/Carolinas region that red clayed up my internal make-up. I’ve known southwest Virginia well, and that whole southwest Virginia/east Tennessee/western North Carolina/even northwest Georgia is a weird Venn diagram where Appalachia meets the South, and it has some sort of unique feel to it. Holcombe is not a polished dude with cop mustache (like Sturgill Simpson) or heavily marketed by a record label DEMANDING YOU PAY HIM THE PROPER RESPECT AS A PROGRESSIVE SOUTHERN AMERICAN WHITE MALE THAT IS ONE OF THE GOOD ONES like Jason Isbell; he’s just some old ass dude who writes some great fucking songs but has that rural dirtbag ponytail just like you’d expect from a guy buying two packs of Winstons and one of those half-cases of Old Milwaukee that’s just a case cut in half with boxcutter by the Indian family that runs the country store now, then taped shut with packing tape. I love that shit, still. Sadly, many country stores are replacing their old deli counters that had gizzards and livers with some sort of chain fried chicken, or worse yet shitty fucking pizza.
Lolol I had anticipated having no stream of consciousness today, just talk about Malcolm Holcombe, but somehow I got to rambling about country stores, and it calls to mind the other week when I had to go back to where I grew up to handle some serious bullshit (death threats, fantasy arsons, all sorts of ‘70s movie vengeance scenes) and on the way back I stopped at Ali’s in Buckingham. This is a long-time country store that’s been called Ali’s for much of that time because an immigrant family owned it like a decade ago. Not even sure what the actual store is called now, but it’s changed owners like five times since Ali, but everybody knows it as Ali’s. A high school kid flipped out on drugs there two years back and got killed by state police after a chase, but being it happened in the middle of nowhere, nobody complained or protested the fact the police chased a guy obviously acting bizarrely for no reason and shot him dead on the porch of his family home nearby in New Canton. I actually emailed the state police spokesperson about it a few times, but just got the run around. (RIP Dyzhawn Perkins.)
Anyways, I was coming back from serious soul-crushing shit, so figured, “yooooo… gizzards and livers!” and swung into Ali’s. I tend to code switch pretty hard linguistically, so combo of that southside VA dialect with the double dimple dropkick out the wolfman beard gets a response from certain demographics, one of those being the type of woman that works the deli counter at a country store. Sadly, they had no gizzards, and as the lady was giving me an order of livers, she said, “They’re old, and pretty dry…” so gave me one to try. I ate it, and shrugged. “I guess give me two thighs” I said, she smiled and gave me the rest of the livers for free with the two thighs. Symbolic of my life – the diminishing returns of being a rural idiot savant from the forgotten underbelly of America, means there’s no more livers or gizzards like I’d want, except for the dried out leftover ones, which I get for free because obviously I deserve them, but the only way I’m gonna get fed is to accept the same shit everybody else gets now, which isn’t much.
I think Malcolm Holcombe would understand all this, and likely make a pretty great song about it too. He’s a rural idiot savant, and hardly nobody knows him either, and in fact I looked at his tour schedule one time and he was playing in somebody’s living room in Richmond, as part of his tour. That’s my kind of artist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

r.i.p. country store fried gizzards.