June 2015 – “Band of the Month” – ANDREW COMBS
Started in January of 2012, the “Band of the Month” feature has allowed The Blue Indian a unique opportunity to share some of our favorite bands with our readers. As we move into our fourth year of the feature, we’re eager to continue showcasing some of the best and brightest bands around. Thanks for the continued support!
Andrew Combs’ sophomore album, ‘All These Dreams’, marks a huge step forward for the Nashville singer-songwriter. Using his gifts for lyricism and wry observation, Combs weaves tales of love, sin and redemption, in a style that brings together classic country and contemporary pop. On this album, Combs continues to carve out his own singular path as an artist, reaching the heights of his Texas songwriting heroes.
Starting back with your time in Dallas, what originally prompted you to pursue a career in music – if it even felt like that’s what you were doing at the time? I’m curious about what prompted the move to Nashville when Texas has such strong roots in country music..
My father is a piano player. I grew up listening to him play, which I am sure subconsciously got me interested in music very early on. My cousin, who played guitar down in Austin gave me my first guitar and taught me my first chords. So, between the two of them, I had a good support system in place to try and start playing. I wanted to start writing my own songs after I heard Guy Clark’s song “Let Him Roll”.
I moved to Nashville because all my heroes did, simple as that. I figured if Kristoffersson, Willie, Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury and all the other Texas transplants came to Nashville, I’d give it a shot too.
Congrats on the success of ‘All These Dreams’..It’s definitely a different record than ‘Worried Man’ in terms of content and production, but in a way I’m able to connect the lines between the two and see how one led to the other..For you, what are the dramatic differences between where you were in life when each record was made?
Worried Man was recorded in 2011 and released in 2012. I was in a totally different place then. I had just broken up with a girlfriend, and was living on friends’ couches. I was also financially struggling. It wasn’t necessarily a dark time, more of a sort of “figuring shit out” year in my life. These days, I’m in a much better, healthier place. I think All These Dreams sounds more concise and thought-out while still feeling comfortable and loose, which probably is a direct result of where I am mentally and physically now.
The arrangements were one of the things that immediately stood out to me when I first listened to the record.. the strings, the background vocals.. Did this stem from collaborating with your producers in the studio or was it something you envisioned from early on when you first started working out the songs?
Both. I had the vision to give the record a sort of classic sound, in the vein of early Glen Campbell or Roy Orbison. It just so happened that Jordan Lehning and Skylar Wilson (the producers), really dug that vision. So between them and myself we arranged the songs, hired the right players, got in the right studio, etc…
Justin Townes Earl, Joe Pug, The Apache Relay, Caitlin Rose, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers… just a few of the acts you’ve toured alongside these last few months and each have released wonderful records in the past year. Any particular highlights from those shows?
Touring Europe/UK with Justin Townes Earle was definitely a highlight. In particular, getting to play Union Chapel in London.
I read one interview around the time the record was released where you talked about how much you enjoy reading for the various perspectives that are offered and how that relates to your songwriting..What have you been reading recently?
I’ve been reading Barry Hannah. For some reason I was never introduced to him until about a year ago, so I am playing catch up. He’s a strange and wonderful writer.
Despite the record being released just a few months ago and you’re playing a fresh batch of songs, writing obviously plays a constant role in your life. When you’ve had time, who have you been working with recently? Regardless of whether you’ve worked together recently, who do you recommend we check out?
I wrote a great song with Caitlin Rose that I hope to release sometime soon, but I’ve mostly been writing by myself recently. My favorite young songwriter in Nashville is Erin Rae. I think she has her first full length coming out soon. She’s great.
My time in Nashville has been limited, a show or two when I was working with bands, but there’s a good chance I’ll be headed up for the Americana Music Festival later this year and have a few days to explore more. Aside from all the great music in town that weekend, any recommendations of places to visit – bars, weird Nashville, historical sites?
I like going to the Country Music Hall of Fame. There’s always something great there. If you’re downtown, Robert’s Western World is a good time, at any time of day. There’s also lots of hip new restaurants, if you are into that sort of thing.
I’ve referred to “the past few months” a number of times, but only because of how important they’ve been in your life and career. What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve taken away from the things brought about by the release of this record, or the time spent creating it?
Cowboy Jack Clement’s lyric, “If you believe in magic you’ll have the universe at your command” kind of sums it up for me.
June 10 – Capitol Theatre – York, PA
June 11 – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC
June 13 – Big Apple Barbecue Block Party – New York, NY
June 14 – The Southern – Charlottesville, VA
June 16 – Atwood’s Tavern – Cambridge, MA
June 20 – Happenin’ Fest – Birmingham, AL
June 24 – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
June 25 – The Brass Rail – Fort Wayne, IN
June 26 – Summer Solstice – Yorkville, IL
June 28 – Musician’s Corner – Nashville, TN
July 2 – FitzGerald’s American Music Festival – Berwyn, IL
July 16 – Maine State Pier – Portland, ME
July 23 – Callaghan’s Irish Social Club – Mobile, AL
July 25 – Bragg Jam Music Festival – Macon, GA
August 1 – Reevestock Music Festival – Elkin, NC
September 4 – End of the Road Festival – Dorset, UK
September 19 – AmericanaFest – Nashville, TN
Andrew Combs – “Nothing to Lose” Official Video