Andrew Combs has been carving quite the niche for himself in the Country music genre. Steering clear of the polished mainstream sound that dominates Nashville, Combs has explored a more traditional sound steeped in his love of folk, Americana and Country. 2015 saw the release of his second album All These Dreams, an album that positioned Combs as a modern day answer to Roy Orbison determined to follow his own path. Two years on from that record, Combs has released his third album Canyons of My Mind.
Sonically the album is a progression from All These Dreams. Each track features luscious instrumentation giving the album a rich sound with Combs’ distinctive vocal at the heart. The moody opener Heart of Wonder sets the tone perfectly for a record that is more mature than Combs’ last and exudes a confident swagger that has become his trademark during his live shows. Lyrically the song explores Combs’ curiosity as he recounts his journey so far before conceding ‘nothing cures my heart of wonder’.
The mood lifts on the second track Sleepwalker, which sounds deceptively perky until you unpack the lyrics. The song laments a lost love and explores the idea of struggling to move on. Elsewhere on the record Combs sings about secret lust on the atmospheric Hazel, layers his vocals on the Fleetwood Mac-esque Better Way and Silk Flowers tells a tale of one night stands to pass the time while remaining hopeful of a reconciliation with a former love.
One of the finest moments on the record comes on the acoustic-driven Dirty Rain. Combs employs his falsetto to good use and delivers a vocal that’s different from what we’ve heard before. The song comments on the ever-changing world as Combs worries about the way the world is going. In these uncertain times it’s a genuine concern and the sentiments of the song resonate strongly.
The album comes to a close with the beautiful What It Means to You, a collaboration with Caitlin Rose who co-wrote the song with Combs. It’s one of the most traditional country cuts on the album and Rose’s harmonies complement Combs’ vocals well. The song packs an emotional punch as the two artists sing about love slipping away from them and a relationship reaching a natural conclusion.
Canyons of My Mind is worthy follow-up to the superb All These Dreams. It packs more variety than its predecessor and Combs has pulled together a fantastic collection of songs. The album could be lifted by an injection of some lighter moments but happiness doesn’t often make the best songs. The theme of love runs through the entire record and Combs comes at it in a different way than his contemporaries. Canyons of My Mind is worthy of repeat listens and I suggest you give it a little time to fully work its magic on you.
Track List: 1. Heart of Wonder 2. Sleepwalker 3. Dirty Rain 4. Hazel 5. Rose Colored Blues 6. Better Way 7. Lauralee 8. Blood Hunters 9. Silk Flowers 10. Bourgeois King 11. What It Means to You Record Label: Loose Release Date: 7th April 2017