Andrew Combs at Hoxton Square
Nashville-resident singer-songwriter Andrew Combs released his second album, All These Dreams, earlier this year and has been touring with it ever since. Combs pulls the kind of crowd that doesn’t watch a gig through a smartphone, wide-ranging in age and comprised not just of the hipsters that might be expected in this part of town. Onstage the band appear to be how My Name is Earl would’ve looked if the cast had included Jake Gyllenhaal and Vince Vaughn, and Combs’ bootlace tie and mid-western drawl sets the scene for the audience before the music begins: this is straight-up, no-apologies Americana.
As he opens with Foolin’, which he introduces as “a song about Facebook”, the crowd begin to get the feeling that Combs might have a slightly melancholic view of the world. Moving into country ballads Please, Please, Please and Strange Bird, the implication is that this view is largely down to woman trouble, and while the whistling on the latter tune lifts the mood a little, Combs has brought the audience to a more reflective state than when they arrived. At this point he plays Slow Road to Jesus, a bluesy, heartfelt song threaded with hope. It is from here onwards that the crowd really engages, and the energy lifts as they recognise the opening chords of Rainy Day Song. As Combs sings about missing his hometown, the connection between performer and audience strengthens enough for there to be a fairly un-British level of joining in on Emily – a song that would have commanded an impromptu singalong even if Combs hadn’t demanded one.
After a stripped-back acoustic encore, which highlights Combs’ woozy three-part vocal harmonies, the crowd leave with slightly dazed smiles on their faces and a new appreciation for the soothing, soporific effects of country music.
Photo: Erol Birsen
For further information about Andrew Combs and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Nothing to Lose here: