Editor’s Note: Ghosts of Country

For the release of the first issue of the Quarterly Review of Contemporary Country, the editor reflects on the major theme of the first quarter of 2016: ghosts. To download the issue in full, visit HERE.   They’re in the title of Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20 and in Megan & Liz’ “That Ghost.” They’re present in the buried harmonies that abortively open Gene Watson’s Real. Country. Music. and in the obsession with legacy that drives Hank Williams Jr’s It’s About Time into a wall. That Malcolm Holcombe’s haunted seems a given, but the same could be said of Dianna...
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Another Black Hole by Malcolm Holcombe

Another Black Hole Malcolm Holcombe ★★★★   Hearing the spit bubble up on Holcombe’s lips is the make or break moment, and goddamned if he didn’t make it.       If the best albums use their opening seconds to indicate what’s in store, then Another Black Hole opens with deception. Based on “Sweet Georgia,” you might be lead to believe that you’re in for a pleasant little twang with a bit of a dark side. It’s fitting, in its way; this is an album about dying, and spitting, and not minding how much you hate it. The spit’s literal, and it’s remarkable. By “To Get By,” Holcombe’s already...
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