Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors have built a sizable following over nearly 15 years of making songs that explore themes of love, kinship, and perseverance shaded with just enough wit and honesty to ground it in reality. They recently wrapped up their tour for Dragons, Holcomb’s ninth studio album that came out earlier this year.
Holcomb has created meaningful community within his musical life. Two of the Neighbors—Nathan Dugger, guitar, and Rich Brinsfield, bass—have been with Holcomb for well over a decade. Dragons features many guests and collaborators including Holcomb’s wife, Ellie, The Lone Bellow, Natalie Hemby, and Lori McKenna. Holcomb also organizes the Moon River Music Festival in Chattanooga, hosts an annual golf-and-music weekend, and runs a subscription record club.
While it is grown-up music, Dragons would go over well in the family station wagon. (The same can be said of Holcomb’s entire discography, really.) The songs contain anthemic choruses, a burnished pop sheen over a rootsy core, and positive messages about love, parenting, optimism, and life that would good lessons for any age.
It might ride up to the edge of feeling overly wholesome, but on a deeper level, it’s a radical call to enjoy normalcy, engage in the social fabric of friendships and family, and do the hard work to maintain relationships.