Photos by Scott Preston
Andrew Combs is a songwriter, guitarist, and singer who lives in Nashville. Originally from Dallas, Combs is inspired by the great tradition of Texas songwriting exemplified by Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Mickey Newbury.
Following the success of the 2010 EP Tennessee Time, Coin Records released the 7-inch single “Big Bad Love” in May 2012 and Combs’ debut full-length album, Worried Man, on October 30, 2012.
The new album caps off a busy year for Combs who signed as a staff writer with Razor & Tie Music Publishing in July 2012. Combs was also tapped to play the 2012 Americana Music Association festival and has played and toured with Shovels & Rope, Jonny Corndawg, Caitlin Rose, Houndmouth, Robert Ellis, and Jason Isbell.
While Tennessee Time displayed a decidedly Nashville sound, Worried Man draws on a folk-rock sound galvanized by the reemergence of authentic American music coming from bands like L.A.’s Dawes. The album was co-produced by Mike Odmark and features guest appearances from Caitlin Rose and Nikki Lane, along with the core band of Jeremy Fetzer, Spencer Cullum, Jr., Michael Rinne, Micah Hulscher, and Jon Radford.
Equal parts rough-and-ready Chicago blues, Planet Waves-era Dylan, and vintage Nashville folk, Combs’ live show has often been described as Merle Haggard’s stripped-down country rock meets the tightly wound garage punk of Detroit’s The MC5. In short, they call it “country soul swag,” and you should too.
Combs is also part of a Nashville renaissance in country-folk music that stems from the slicked-up rural country gems of Justin Townes Earle and the close-knit indie folk-rock of Caitlin Rose. Searching through this puzzle you might also find an answer to why Jack White operates a ‘50s-inspired record shop and recording studio in Nashville and why the city has a buzzing punk scene. Maybe you’d even stumble into Combs and his band getting wild and fuzzy at a house party. Or maybe you’ll see Combs solo—on stage and alone as all hell—singing songs that have prompted middle-aged women to ask him, “Are you gonna be alright?”
Well, the Texas lad is just fine, thank you, and we think you’ll agree when you hear more of the sounds that are coming out of this East Nashville hotbed of dusty country soul, done up right.