Andrew Combs – Tennessee Time (Self Released, 2010)
Andrew Combs is a young Texan who’s developed a folksy, throwback singer-songwriter sound amid the crossover dreams and overproduction of Nashville. He cites Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt as influences, and the edges of his voice bring to mind Chris Knight and Gram Parsons; Combs’ girlfriend Heidi Feek adds harmony on a few tracks, lending a Gram/Emmylou vibe. There’s a strong feel for Steve Earle in the album’s title track, particularly in the way the verses peak in the middle and trail off to find the song’s title sung as a contented exhalation. All fives tracks are taken at mid-tempo, but two are turned out as honky-tonkers and two as introspective country-rockers. Combs’ longing on the opening “Hummingbird” is shaded blue by Dustin Ransom’s barroom piano, echoing the mood Jack Ingram laid down on Live at Adair’s. Combs’ satisfaction with the Volunteer State is expressed in the comforts of “Tennessee Time” as Luke Herbert keeps time on the rim of his drum and Jeremy Fetzer adds a soulful baritone guitar solo. You can hear Hank Williams’ yearning in the confessional love song, “Wanderin’ Heart,” and the closing “Won’t Catch me” is sung with acoustic guitar and harmonica. All five tracks are thoughtfully sung and played, and a bonus cover of “Dark End of the Street,” available with EP purchase at Bandcamp, further exemplifies Combs’ affinity for Southern soul. Here’s hoping a full album is coming soon!