"Malcolm scares the living bejezus out of me as he writes from a place only a true poet knows and channels ancient mountain tones from dark overgrown hollows where ghosts and spirits moan and plead their cases to the devil and..and..sorry, i got carried away there but i have become a Malcolm fanatic..also he possesses a genuine good soul."
“If you fear honesty, despise authenticity, and love New Country music, then by all means avoid Malcolm Holcombe. His darkness is palpable. His light is blinding. He's a leper and a prophet. He's a drifter and a sage. He will move you in so many directions at once that you will break, and once you break, you will either love him or hate him but you will never forget him. If even one seat goes unsold, it will be an injustice.”
"His songs blend gut-deep urgency with a knack for lyrical images rendered in the fewest words possible, and reflect his dual personality—part troubled soul, part front-porch sage." Jack Silverman- Nashville Scene
"Malcolm Holcombe sings in a gruff and dusty voice harsh with experience. But there’s a wisdom to his delivery, and a brittle beauty to his rootsy tunes, that makes his music a pleasure to listen to." Jim Farber New York Daily News
"Malcolm Holcombe is the best songwriter I ever threw out of my recording studio." - Steve Earle
"Malcolm Holcombe's songs, his work, his art, introduces me to parts of my subconscious self that have no voice and can only be accessed through art...I am a huge fan. His work has influenced mine for years." - Mary Gauthier
"Malcolm Holcombe's music is essential and timeless and it makes the world a better place." - Tim O'Brien
"This is an album populated with subtly catchy choruses that worm their way into the consciousness. Like John Lee Hooker, Holcombe avoids obvious rhymes and wrong-foots the listener. There are unanswered questions aplenty that will draw the curious back for answers time and again. Superior stuff." - Cate Mitchell- Backroads UK
“Amazing, talented, edgy, scary, dangerous, loving, genuine, articulate, kind, unique. If he is ‘down in your woods’ make sure you seek him out – I guarantee you an unforgettable experience." - Jela Webb- Flyin' Shoes”
"Malcolm Holcombe...stands out like a beacon in an industry full of shiny young things. He is an individual and a one-off and the World is a better place for having him in it. Alan Harrison- No Depression
"Not quite country, somewhere beyond folk, Holcombe's music is a kind of blues in motion, mapping backwoods corners of the heart." David Fricke -Rolling Stone Magazine
““But if you’re not touched by Malcolm Holcombe, you’re not alive. And it isn’t about blowing him up, parading him in "Parade", it’s the cumulative effect of multiple Holcombes that creates a scene that makes people pay attention to music, become enraptured, talk about it, devour tracks like they’re food.” –Bob Lefsetz”
"From the first note I was drawn in. Malcolm Holcombe is an old soul and a modern day blues poet." Lucinda Williams
"The brilliance of Holcombe’s songs, riveting live performances and a troubled early career have made him something of a legend in some circles, but his songs are not geared toward legend-making. They are celebration and testimony as durable and beautiful as the hills where they were written." - Al Maginnes- Option magazine
“Listen to a Holcombe song and what you're getting is personality in spades, a narrative so gritty with the noise of tough living that it rarely dips below red on the authenticity meter. - BBC Music”
“Pitiful Blues is up there as one of the best albums I have heard so far this year. rating: 5 stars - Michael Hingston, Country Music People”
“...there aren't many albums this honest and there won't be many better this year. Pitiful Blues, rating: 10 - James McCurry, Americana UK”
“Pitiful Blues - Malcolm Holcombe's tenth and possibly finest album, is very nearly faultless...these songs make his contemporaries sound barely literate. - Alan Harrison, No Depression”
“Malcolm Holcombe is like a myth. A backwoods character in a Southern Gothic novel with a voice filled with a grave-dirt rattle and telling tales of simpler, and harder, times. Times he knows about. Surviving brushes with Nasvhille Big Labels, addictions and demons – No less than Steve Earle once famously said of him “”Malcolm Holcombe is the best songwriter I ever threw out of my recording studio.” Strong praise from a man that knows a thing or two about demons... Malcolm Holcombe isn’t for everybody. But if you love music with heart and soul. Music that’s been somewhere and seen a thing or two, then he might be just the man for you. ”
"These days, there are hordes of performers who truck in “Americana” or “roots” or “folk” music. But Holcombe’s art is no phony drawl, pearl-snap affectation. Nor is it sterile, by-the-numbers old-timey music, suffocated by joyless authenticity. It is the real thing. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you’d best not miss him the next time he comes to town."
“Holcombe can have fun, conjuring the energy and legacy of loose-spirited jug-band music or country swing. But he can also capture the heartbreak of despair... in a way that is sorrowful but never maudlin or sentimental."”
“Haunted acoustic country blues, folk and gospel fervour all converge in the rugged output of Malcolm Holcombe, whose visage, as one reviewer put it, "appears carved out of granite and whose voice is sculpted from tree bark and disregarded rail road lines". North Carolina-born and bred, he is, in short, the real deal. ”
"His latest CD, For the Mission Baby, is about as potent as it can get — gutsy, rootsy, bluesy, Americana where Holcombe’s lyrics mark him a wordsmith of legend proportions, comfortably perched on the upper rungs."
"...he gives new meaning to the words honesty and intensity."
"...a hardscrabble troubadour in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt, Dock Boggs, and Mississippi John Hurt, a roots-soaked storyteller for whom tradition is a living entity, rather than an heirloom to be taken out and polished."
"The paradox is that while Malcolm’s music sounds totally raw and authentic with a wellspring deep in rustic tradition it’s also pretty much unique and personal, with a born-songwriter’s lyricism that’s somehow illogical in this context but hey, it’s a hell of a combination."- David Kidman
"The insouciant, rumpled aura that Malcolm Holcombe gives off may well be the way he really is, but it’s not what he is. And everyone knows that, and it’s that contrast that makes his performances spellbinding."