David Olney and Malcolm Holcombe
The Cary Theater, Cary
Friday, Jan. 23, 2015

A rainy Friday evening greeted songwriters David Olney and Malcolm Holcombe at The Cary Theater. Originally opened in the 1940s, the movie theater hosted a handful of notable acts in its prime, including Ernest Tubb and Patsy Cline. The theater transitioned for a time to an auto parts store before sitting empty for a number of years. The renovated space reopened in mid-2014 and serves as one of the less-known but best-tuned performance spaces in the Triangle.

The evening paired two of the premier touring folk acts. Starting off the night was David Olney, the former UNC-Chapel Hill student who was a staple in the early days of the Cat’s Cradle. Olney reminisced a bit and discussed an early composition titled “If My Eyes Were Blind” that he wrote during his time in Chapel Hill, where he says he truly found his voice as a songwriter. Olney also played a few new numbers from his latest album, When The Deal Goes Down. “Little Bird (What I Do)” arrived in a long line of elaborate, menacing minor-key narratives.

Western North Carolina’s Malcolm Holcombe followed Olney. The animated songwriter with the raspy voice snarled and stomped his feet as he worked through a 45-minute set. Between songs, Holcombe delivered off-the-cuff observations that bordered on the bizarre but serve as hilarious trademarks of his live performances.

In the coming month, Cary Theater and the Cary Arts Center will continue to produce a string of such folk pairings presented by local mainstay David Sardinha and his revived Six String Presents group.

Below, watch clips from both Olney and Holcombe.

David Olney, “If My Eyes Were Blind”

YouTube video


David Olney, “Little Bird (What I Do”)

YouTube video