Andrew Combs Need Not Be A “Worried Man” (CD Review)

I do not quite get the album art on Worried Man (2012), the debut full-length CD by Andrew Combs. Is he cold? Is it supposed to be a picture of a “Worried Man”? I do not think the album cover adequately prepared me for what to expect when I heard the music. One thing I do know, though, is that it is the best album by a new artist I have heard in a long time.

Because Worried Man came out in October 2012, I realize I am a little slow in discovering Andrew Combs. But seeing a video of Andrew Combs performing on the Twang Nation website recently led me to check out his album. Listening to Worried Man starting with the first track of “Devil’s Got My Woman” has been one of those periodic experiences that restores my faith in new music.

Combs, who is originally from Texas and now resides in Nashville, wrote all of the songs on the album, and he sings with an ache in his voice in the best country and Americana tradition. The album includes heartbreak, whiskey, and pedal steel, and the title track reminds one of an old murder ballad (even if the violence stops short of killing). You can hear the influences of Combs’s heroes who include Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Mickey Newbury, Guy Clark, Jackson Browne, and Tom T. Hall. Combs pulls off connecting to these past influences while also sounding modern at the same time, as he does in this performance of “Please, Please, Please.”

Every artist is different, of course, but for comparison purposes, a lot of the songs remind me of another artist I like a lot, Slaid Cleaves. “Please, Please, Please” sounds like it could be a great Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams track. The song “Worried Man” sounds like it is off of the album of another Texan, Ray Wylie Hubbard . For now, Andrew Combs has made a stream of the album available so you can listen for yourself below Check it out.

Combs, who released the album on his own Coin Records, also co-produced the album with Mike Odmark. Singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose adds her voice to several of the tracks. I look forward to more music from Andrew Combs, whatever the cover looks like.

What is your favorite track off of Worried Man? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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