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Rooted in Country: Drew Holcomb on George Strait’s ‘I Can Still Make Cheyenne’

Eric Ryan Anderson

With his latest album Souvenir, soulful singer songwriter Drew Holcomb and his band the Neighbors mix elements from country, rock, blues and folk to create a relatable and authentic collection of story songs. Whether you’re a young soul rambling across the country or a down home family man, there’s something to connect with on the record.

One of Holcomb’s best qualities is the ability to use simple rhythms and lyrical ties to explain a feeling we’ve all had. From the sorrow of heartbreak to the feeling of restlessness that comes with hitting the road, Holcomb’s soulful, welcoming voice brings a sense of comfort and understanding.

And while Holcomb’s sound is hard to define with a few simple words, so is modern country music. Still, there are artists we all use as markers along the genre’s long and winding path to today. George Strait is one of those trailblazers that many artists note as a lasting influence, not only because of his songs, but because of his unwavering efforts to stay true to himself.

“I remember driving home from a cousins weekend of dove hunting and 4-wheeling when I was 16, my older cousin was playing George Strait’s ‘I Can Still Make Cheyenne,'” Holcomb tells Wide Open Country. “I had not been much of a country music fan until that moment.”

“The lonesome story of the cowboy rodeo man getting his heartbroken inside and outside the rodeo stung me to my core and I immediately went out the next day to the record store and asked the clerk to tell me which 4 country albums I should buy. I bought Strait, Cash, Alan Jackson, and Willie Nelson, and the love affair with country music started there.”

Aside from being an important influence, Strait reminded Holcomb of one of the most important rules of music. It’s the story that makes a song unique, but it’s the storyteller that transforms it into something unforgettable.

READ MORE: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors Share “Mama’s Sunshine, Daddy’s Rain”

You can catch Drew Holcomb out on the road through the spring, with dates scheduled across the U.S. through November. Check out the full list of upcoming concert stops via their official website. Souvenir is available in stores and online now.

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Rooted in Country: Drew Holcomb on George Strait’s ‘I Can Still Make Cheyenne’