Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors – Tickets – World Cafe Live Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – October 23rd, 2019

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors


Wed · October 23, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

World Cafe Live Philadelphia

$20 ADV / $24 DOS / $95 VIP + Fees

VIP Ticket includes a meet & greet, Q&A Session, photo opportunity, and early admission (6pm).


Mezzanine tickets may be assessed a higher service fee.

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
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.
Zack and Dani were married in 2012 and soon after their wedding tried writing a couple songs together. They liked it, so they wrote a couple more. Andy, a friend from college and very talented drummer, was into the songs and started beating on stuff while Zack and Dani played them. It sounded good. While these 3 were playing the songs at Shakespeare in the Park one August afternoon, Brian became interested in adding his immense talent to the mix as well and began playing along with mandolin and guitar. It sounded even better. Birdtalker as these 4 members wrote and practiced for about a year when yet another talented friend and Birdtalker's biggest fan, Jesse, expressed interest in lending his bass sounds to the band. It is the combination of each member's specific offerings that gives Birdtalker the life and sound that it now possesses. And it doesn't hurt that they all like each other a heck of a lot, too.

Zack and Dani write songs as a way to share ideas they care about and sentiments they feel deeply. Playing music has proven to be a powerful avenue for connection and communion, within the band as well as with listeners. Birdtalker's hope is simply that the more music they write and share, the more true and vulnerable interactions may be born from it.
Venue Information:
World Cafe Live Philadelphia
3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104