Holcombe Waller | Troubled Times

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Folk: Modern Folk Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Troubled Times

by Holcombe Waller

Melancholic, eyes-starred-with-beauty-and-pain, and as all encompassing as a womb filled with warm guitars, rumbling electric keyboards, and your occasional banjo.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Troubled Times
6:03 $1.00
2. Seven Eight Song
3:51 $1.00
3. Don't You Love Nobody True
3:41 $1.00
4. No Enemy
2:39 $1.00
5. Literally the End of the World
2:41 $1.00
6. Little Wrecking Ball
2:47 $1.00
7. You Love Me
3:43 $1.00
8. Take Me With You
3:59 $1.00
9. Without It
4:52 $1.00
10. Halflight
5:13 $1.00
11. Joy Cruising
4:05 $1.00
12. Litany
4:55 $1.00
13. Hope Is Everywhere
4:55 $1.00
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Holcombe Waller is one of those underground artists that doesn’t seem to care about what is happening on the surface of the popular music landscape. He writes songs in his apartment in Portland, he performs (straight-forward performances, fused with a smattering of performance art), oh and he teaches a little too…an elective course at UC Berkeley, to be exact. All of which seems to be executed, and indeed achieved at the artist’s very own creative whim.

How my love affair with this man’s music began, is simple. I discovered him just over a year ago in a back issue of Butt, and from that moment, I felt compelled to ‘discover’ whether Holcombe had the artistic credos to back up his cheeky interview persona.

The quest began with a long wait, for a US import of his release, Extravagant Gesture to arrive to the UK. Once fully loaded and synced, it was only a week, before four tracks off of the album were in my Ipod’s most played list, with the layered, melodic cataclysm ‘Anthem’ taking the prized spot as the number one repeater. At that point, I started to understand why I felt so passionately about Holcombe. Somehow, he had managed to fuse Van Morrison’s lyrical delivery, with a touch of Gospel soul, and cradled that within the airy melodic landscape suited to the The Smiths.

On his next release, 2005’s Troubled Times, Holcombe seemed ready to tackle a different beast. The self-confessional poetry of his previous effort is still all over the place, except now it is aimed at us with a political undertone. The artist weaves his way through shiny melodies that intersperse tales of war and identity, with stories of powerless lovers in helpless relationships. To the reader it may sound ridiculous, but somehow Holcombe manages to begin with the refrain “Condoleez, baby pleez” (on ‘No Enemy’), only to shift to the nonchalant candour found in ‘You Love Me’, where the singer confesses to his lover that he is going to be “vacationing from pain”. From then on, we assume that the couple are on official ‘break’, when Holcombe suddenly tells him “if I [still] love you, we’ll be fine” (that is, if his lover manages to heat things up in the bedroom, of course).

The rest of the album is equally welcoming. The singer meanders between catchy refrains, where minimalistic lyrics have the power to ignite the imagination. When Holcombe sings on title track: “What you doing, patriot? Come buck-naked dance for free, Watch one-monkey down the last cherry tree”. One wonders whether Holcombe is singing about the brutalities of the Bush administration, or a more personal, romantic war – one that may be tearing the artist up inside.

After all this, I have yet to mention Mr. Waller’s greatest gift, his voice. An astonishing instrument, the singer’s four-octave vocal range veers from a gentle simmer to a pointed falsetto with a beguiling ease and precision. This instrument, coupled with his bare and evocative lyricism suggest that Holcombe is one of the more exciting, (and underrated artists) of recent memory.

-Omar Kholeif, PopMatters.com



to write a review

Christina G

A Holcombe Waller for Every Mood
It seems an eternity I waited for Holcombe's 3rd album. Now that I have it in my possession, every second waiting was worth it. A departure from his previous tunes; I now have a Holcombe for every mood.


loved it
such a good cd...theres nothing really to say except how great it is...listen to number 9 when your in a bad mood and everything just seems to make more sense


How can anyone ignore this guy?
Holcombe Waller never ceases to amaze me. The emotion he exudes and enables a listener to feel is unprecedented. Anyone who has not heard his music is truly deprived.

Caroline Bodin

A dream...
When I listen to Holcombe's voice, I hear an angel singing! I feel like I'm in a dream, flying over the sea, all the CD long... Melancolic but never sad! Just relax and enjoy it...


A melancholy masterpiece
Perfectly formed gems, eminently conceived and delivered.

The Anti-Bush Klan Man

Frickin great.
A shift from past CDs, but still a tour-de-force of his strengths - vocals and songwriting. More thoughtful and of-the-times than extravagent gesture and advertising space, but every bit as musical. Love it after a listen or two, think its the next bible after 10.


love it
Holcombe Waller's voice is so beautiful. I love this CD the most when it's raining and I'm a little melancholy.

Christopher Knoerlein

Simply Beautiful!
Holcombe Waller's Troubled Times is a beautiful album that truly captures his incredible voice. You can listen to this album from beginning to end and appreciate the eccentric and diverse nature of Holcombe.


I read an interview with Holcombe on BUTT Magazine and ordered his CD immediately. The songs are super sensual and super gentle, the lyrics are super smart. Literally the End of the World is my favourite.

siri, with five names

listen for beautiful sound
This album is such an equal balance between vocals and instrumentals...every note, harmony and concept is fully supported. This is wholly music at it's best- core AND periphery. While I've played Don't You Love Nobody True (*track 3)on repeat countless times at this point, the whole cd can be played straight through without skipping a moment. Ben and Mike make beautiful sounds into music. It's nice to hear a composition that can seem simultaneously thought out and spontaneous. Oh- and I appreciate when their non-percussion instruments carry the beat.
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