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[O]ne surprise album I think every good music lover should get his hands on is Nashville’s Andrew Combs, a performing songwriter, who embodies the very essence of Nashville. He was a staff writer with Razor & Tie publishing, and now will add touring musician & songwriter to the ol’ resume. His new album, Worried Man, out today, is also the embodiment of a new Nashville crop of talented songwriters, players, and musicians with a common cause, make great music, that evokes the country tradition without all the glitz and glam that pop-country has taken with it. These artists whom Combs’ has shared the stage have the opportunity to delight us with a new brand of country music that looks back into the past, but puts one fort firmly forward.
Worried Man, is Combs’ first full length effort and it employs fantastic writing to package together crying in your beer country songs, losing a lover and best of all murder balladry. Combs has a wonderful ability to span wide ranges from swamp-rock to country balladry, to soulful blues and he does so with a writing talent that puts him atop a short list of great up and coming young artists. Combs’ writing and his melodic, genuine and almost naive voice create a warm comfortable place for the listener as he brings you through a narrative of broken relationships and jealousy.
Worried Man, starts off with the rollicking “Devils got my Woman,” a story about his woman who is no longer interested in him, obviously its the devil stealing her away. The soulful country ballad, “Please, Please, Please” which employs Spencer Cullum Jr’s weeping pedal steel and a whole lot of begging from Combs. A stand out, and a remnant from his recent “Big Bad Love EP” the swamp rock “Big Bad Love,” song shakes, twists & rocks through the falling out of the relationship from earlier songs. The guitar riffs are heavy, the subtle organs add a small gospel element, and Combs transforms his voice to a bit more visceral growl. “Come Tomorrow,” is a beautifully sad crooning song about loss and rebirth. “Too Stoned to Cry,” lets Combs show off his smooth gentle voice on a real soulful track that could be his tearjerker, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Caitlin Rose lends some of her vocal talents to back-up on this track. The bouncing “Why oh Why,” brings back up the energy with a little boogie-woogie that’s a little Chuck Berry. Finally, the title track is a major standout, its a dark murder ballad; a song about jealousy, and brooding violence as Combs’ lyrics take him to a place he might not really go, shooting his lover in the ankles for dancing with another man.
The songs here are obviously a common theme, broken relationships, but Combs has the ability to really keep the listeners attention with quick-witted lyricism, a straightforward approach, a few tear-jerkers, and some great country-branded americana music. It’s roots rock, the way it is supposed to be played, and Worried Man is a great debut for a budding artist that everyone should be talking about.