Infinity Music Hall & Bistro
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Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams w/ Malcolm Holcombe with Malcolm Holcombe



Fri, November 09, 2018
Norfolk, CT
Show: 8 PM

Ticket INFO

Price: $29 - $44

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Alternative / American Roots
Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams w/ Malcolm Holcombe

We are more than honored to present this show. Larry Campbell is one of the most respected and admired musicians on the planet – just ask Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Judy Collins the Black Crows. The list goes on and on. He’s been in their bands as well as performs solo and with his wife, Teresa Williams (also a star in her own right). Kicking off the night is the ever talented Malcolm Holcombe, with decades of incredible guitar mastery and deep songwriting, every show of his is a story, and an amazing one at that. Grab your tickets soon!

Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams

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Artist Bio

Multi-instrumentalist-vocalist Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams have rocked many a venue, as both center stage performers and invaluable assets to world class acts. A shortlist of artists who’ve benefited from their talents, live and in studios, reads like a Who’s Who of Music Icons: Bob Dylan (Larry spent eight years on the Never Ending Tour), Paul Simon, Little Feat, Hot Tuna, Phil Lesh, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples, and, for one miraculous seven-year stretch, Levon Helm. Now, with an eponymous debut album, the couple brings it all back home. Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams may have been simmering awhile, but the timing is perfect; the eleven tracks, produced by Campbell, distill everything into a potent, infectious blend of Americana style and timeless soul, offered with a relaxed generosity that can only come from rich experience.


Larry and Teresa’s story begins at New York’s famed Bottom Line club in the mid 80s; she was singing country, he was playing pedal steel. It was love at first chord. “She was the real deal,” native New Yorker Larry says. “None of that Urban Cowboy nonsense. And she was clock-stopping gorgeous. I was smitten.” “I’d thought country music players in New York was an oxymoron,” says Tennessee-born Teresa. “But he saved my life on that stage. I thanked him for bringing the heavy steel down to play just a few songs, and when we looked into each other’s eyes I saw everything he is, the depth of his soul.” They married soon after, setting off on their own individual highways, but always circling back to each other. Among other adventures, Teresa originated the role of country music pioneer Sara Carter in the musical Keep On the Sunny Side, and Larry achieved renown as the go-to roots music guy for sessions, tours, and pit bands, the dude who’d mastered a dizzying array of stringed instruments and styles.


The seeds for a duet project were unwittingly planted in their courting days, when Larry and Teresa sang and played with the locals under her great-great grandmother’s Tennessee cedar tree, the same one under which they married. (These gatherings continue to this day.) Later, when the duo was song-swapping all night with the band in the back of Bob Dylan’s tour bus, Dylan’s longtime manager Jeff Kramer told Larry he was crazy not to make hay with what they had as a duo. But their schedules kept the idea on the back burner until 2005, when Levon Helm called. He’d beaten cancer, was invigorated as never before, and was putting together a band for the soon-to-be legendary Midnight Rambles at his barn-studio in Woodstock, NY. He wanted some Campbell-Williams mojo to help make the most of his surprise fourth act. This humble beginning – playing in a barn on a dirt road – inaugurated the greatest musical experience of Larry and Teresa’s lives.

Larry became the unflappable leader of the shape-shifting Midnight Ramble Band, earning three Grammys for producing Levon’s final three CDs; Teresa, as an indispensable band member, frequently brought the house down. Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams is an extension of that time, featuring eight originals and three covers honed on the carpet of Levon’s barn, under the gaze of grateful fans. Songs like the Muscle Shoals-inflected CD opener “Surrender to Love,” heart-wrenching ballad “Another One More Time,” and boot-stomper “Bad Luck Charm,” feature the

distinctive texture of two entwining voices who’ve been through a lot together – the good, the bad, and the joyous.


“It was the most pure musical experience I’ve ever had,” Larry says of their time with Levon. “It gave me the template for how to make music for the rest of my life: no egos, no agenda, no petty stuff. I looked forward to every gig I ever did with Levon, I loved doing it, and when it was over I couldn’t wait for the next one. I got inspired to write more songs for Teresa and me to sing.”

For Teresa, singing in the church-like space at the Midnight Rambles was full circle for her childhood discovery of the magic between an audience and an artist. “I don’t remember a time not singing in front of people. I sang in church, at school, everywhere. I didn’t know anything about making records. I just knew connection to an audience was everything. While standing onstage Saturday nights at Levon’s – musically true north – in that intimate space, I realized: this was my dream, and I’m in it.”


When performing at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio, Teresa took on Reverend Gary Davis’ “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” infusing the apocalyptic gospel tune with show-stopping, pew-jumping fervor. Her roots as a seventh-generation Mississippi Delta cotton-farm girl rose to the surface.


The song became part of the Midnight Ramble repertoire, and captured on Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, it’s a powerful force indeed.


After Levon’s 2012 passing, they grieved, celebrated his life, and got to work finishing Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. They had the tunes, and, with drummer (and ace recording engineer) Justin Guip and Ramble Band member Byron Isaacs on bass, they had an ass-kicking, road-worthy band. Additionally, the lovefest of guests on Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams sweetened the pot considerably: Amy Helm’s voice melding with Larry and Teresa’s on the gorgeous Grateful Dead hymn “Attics Of My Life,” Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne’s rollicking touch on several tracks, and Levon himself appearing on “You’re Running Wild,” a tune made famous by the Louvin Brothers, now given an Orbison touch (originally recorded during Levon’s Dirt Farmer sessions). Finally, it all dovetailed into place.


With Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, this duo not only brings a lot to the table, they bring the table itself – plus the house, the still, the church, the marriage bed, the sawdust-covered floor, and abiding, unconditional love, all carried in two voices harmonizing across hills, hollers, porches, and fire escapes. Those close harmonies ride atop music made in a mountain refuge, far from the madding crowd, connected to a spirit that lives on in song.

Malcolm Holcombe

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On the North Carolina side of the Southern Appalachians, the land still retains its secrets.

It’s a place of paradoxes, where poverty is handed down from one hardscrabble generation to the next in towns passed over by the New South progress that gives a city like Asheville its bourgeois charm. It’s a resilient pocket of wilderness where a small band of Cherokee once disappeared into the misty hollers to wait out the white man’s ire, back in the deep woods where old growth timber blocks out the sunlight and compass needles sometimes spin crazily and the trappings of civilization give way to things beyond human understanding.

On the cusp of releasing his 13th studio album — “Come Hell or High Water,” out XXX on Singular Recordings — singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe is a both a part of and apart from those Blue Ridge hills, a Southern folk golem brought to life by the deeper mysteries that give these hills so much of their folklore.

His songs belong in the same Western North Carolina echelon of mysteries like the Brown Mountain Lights or the ghostly apparitions along Helen’s Bridge or the phantom choir of Roan Mountain — things that surpass conventional explanation but summon forth a combination of awe and primal longing, an ache to understand the great questions of the human condition.

Malcolm may not have the answers to those questions, but his songs are drawn from the same waters that begin as a trickle in the deep woods: wild, untamed, filled with the whispers and roars of all the mysteries and wonders those hills contain. And like the region’s otherworldly manifestations, they come from a place that transcends easy understanding, even by their creator.

“I don’t know, man; people ask me that stuff, and I can’t really tell you where it comes from,” Holcombe says. “I’m not really good at pulling a Houdini and getting the pencil to levitate. Getting my pencil to levitate is impossible; it’s not in my realm of being. Like my friend Eddie from up here in Swannanoa says, ‘If you like to get corn, you got to get out the hoe.’”

For “Come Hell or High Water,” he wields that hoe with a deft set of hands, gnarled fingers smelling of tobacco and fresh dirt and the resin from thousands of worn-out guitar strings. It’s his third record in as many years, but it’s a pointless endeavor to talk to him about his creative process, because Malcolm isn’t the sort of songwriter to poke those dark recesses of the mind to figure out where the words that bubble up there come from.

“It’s like a friend of mine said years ago — everything’s a miracle or nothing’s a miracle,” he says. “It’s just miraculous to be in this situation with some wonderful folks that I’ve been working with over the years, and to be supported by my wife and friends and fans.”

Two hundred years ago, early settlers might have visited a man like Malcolm in a cave cut into the side of a North Carolina mountain, hauling tobacco or hides through the Southern Appalachian woods to receive words of wisdom. Even with the contemporary trappings of internet songwriting and email and digital studio wizardry at his disposal, he’s not that far removed from that wild-eyed hermit who speaks in riddles and metaphors and delivers prophecies and portents of troubled times. If there's one thing you can depend on Holcombe to deliver, it's honesty — often searing, often painful, always with the sort of deft turn of phrase that has made ardent admirers out of his contemporaries.

“Malcolm Holcombe is an artist of deep mystery and high art; he is who I listen to, and have for over 20 years,” says Darrell Scott, one of Nashville’s premier sessions instrumentalists and a nationally respected singer-songwriter. “All the goods that I value in songs and artistry are in Malcolm.”

“I think for most songwriters, songs are like clothing. Malcolm's songs are his skin,” writes fellow Nashville tunesmith David Olney. “They are a direct expression of who is as a man.”

“People like to say Malcolm Holcombe is a national treasure, and they got that right,” adds R.B. Morris, an East Tennessee singer-songwriter, playwright and the former poet laureate of the City of Knoxville. “He stands on all the old American music traditions and takes them his own way into a very individual music expression.”

“Come Hell or High Water” is trademark Malcolm: chiseled out of a life abundant in both hard times and sweet ones. He was born and raised in these hills, learned to play the flat-top guitar with a local folk group and woodshedded on stages at dance halls, county fairs and community centers throughout the region. He left for a spell, winding up in Nashville and signing a record deal with Geffen that exposed him to a wider audience, but ever since he came back home, he’s been content to do his own thing, earning admiration from contemporaries like Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris and drawing comparisons to everyone from the late Townes Van Zandt to Bruce Springsteen for the way he paints vivid portraits with his songs, turning them into haunting, brooding, moving affairs. There's an ache of loveliness and loneliness, of torment and hope, threaded through each of the 13 tracks on his latest, all of them crafted with the celebrated roots-music couple Iris DeMent and Greg Brown.

As exquisite as both guests sound, however, it’s Malcolm’s roughhewn and ragged voice that “cuts through ya like a frozen butter knife,” to borrow a line from “Old North Side,” one of the new record’s easy-like-Sunday-morning grooves. It’s a song of snapshots as only Malcolm can take them — “gas-guzzling rustbucket” … “JFK on the stickhouse mantle” … “the old man’s porch” … images trumping narrative, a glimpse inside the flurried hurricane of the songwriter’s mind.

“This world is full of goodness and a lot of positivity, but it seems like I can relate to the underdog and the downtrodden, for obvious reasons,” he says. “Those types of songs seem to strike a nerve more deeply than the ‘Yellow Brick Road,’ because I think it’s a struggle for all of us to try to do the next right thing. Some people have the spiritual chemistry to be able to achieve that more easily than others, but I think we all struggle with getting up in the morning and trying to live in our own skin.”

“Feelin’ my age, feelin’ cynical and wrong, too scared to believe I belong anymore,” he ponders on “New Damnation Alley,” one of those vocal tangos with DeMent that takes “Come Hell or High Water” to a level umatched by his past catalog. When they channel the sweet ache of “I Don’t Wanna Disappear” or lift up the gospel-blues praises of “Gone By the Ol’ Sunrise” or send up a warning for the coming “rain and the dread” on “Black Bitter Moon,” Malcolm’s guttural growls and hissing lamentations are tempered by DeMent’s country drawl sweetness. And by the time the record fades into the final track — “Torn and Wrinkled,” a weary rumination on the passage of time and one man’s life’s work (“my conscience carries all the weight to help another’s heavy burden”) — it becomes clearer than ever that Holcombe’s voice deserves some sort of recognition by the state of North Carolina for its unique contribution to the art and tradition of the hill country he calls home.

It's the groan of weathered timber from an abandoned mountain cabin during a spring storm, the lonesome bark of a coyote on the other side of a ridge or the whine of a locomotive cutting through Appalachian valleys in the dark of night. It’s a haunting and mysterious thing, and like most of the mysteries of these hills, the true beauty lies in the eyes — or in this case, the ears — of the beholder.

“It’s not for me to judge what people think or ascertain from the tunes; they get what they get out of them,” he says. “I try not to think about it or get too analytical about any of it. They’re just built through personal experiences and living my life with family and friends, and by the grace of the good Lord, I’m able to be of service and offer some stories.”



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