Breakout songwriter Andrew Combs plays Kable House Presents in York
If 2014 was the year of Sturgill Simpson, a strong argument can be made that 2015 will belong to Andrew Combs. The Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter released his sophomore album, All These Dreams, back in March, just in time to catch the attention of everyone from NPR Music to Rolling Stone in advance of SXSW – and likewise earn a decent bit of attention at the annual music festival. Check out a video Combs filmed for Paste Magazine at SXSW:
Sophomore albums can be a tricky thing for any artist. Coming on the heals of Combs’ debut, the October 2012-released Worried Man, All These Dreams showcases the further maturation of an already adept songwriter. On “Pearl,” Combs narrates a variety of diamond-in-the-rough scenarios (an alcoholic musician, a star athlete secretly shooting up in his car, a dirty cop who intervenes as a girl attempts to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge); on “Slow Road to Jesus,” Combs explores the notion of making good on his place in the world.
Combs’ lyrical chops are only half of the equation, however. The musical arrangements themselves are enough to cause the album stand out in the over-saturated pop country landscape that also calls Nashville home. Guitar-and-pedal steel duo Steelism add the perfect combination of catchy guitar riffs and swelling pedal steel lines. “Long Gone Lately” comes complete with castanets and a whistled instrumental bridge that could easily lend itself to be the soundtrack of a old gunslinging Western film. The early stand-out, “Foolin’,” shines as one of those songs that’s catchy in all the right ways, from the keystone descending guitar riff to the vocal hook on the chorus.
All in all, All These Dreams is a breath of fresh air in the world of country music, anchored by an attention to smart songwriting that is arguably missing from much of the musical emanating out of Music City. Combs is no doubt causing long-gone country greats to smile in their graves.
Kable House Presents welcomes Andrew Combs to Central Market York (34 W. Philadelphia St., York) on Friday, April 10. 7pm doors; 8pm music. All ages. $15. Click here for tickets.