THURSDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2019
Andrew Combs is a singer and songwriter whose work bridges the freedom and possibility of his visual art with the influence of classic writing and storytelling. On his new album, Ideal Man, Combs worked with producer/engineer Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker) to achieve a more raw, direct sound. The collection was captured live in Cohen’s Brooklyn studio, with compact, muscular arrangements fueled by taut, elastic grooves, and also featuring Combs’ longtime collaborators, drummer Dom Billet and guitarist/keyboardist/bassist Jerry Bernhardt. While Combs may be best known as a singer/songwriter in the classic 1970s Laurel Canyon sense of the term, he proves the true versatility of his work here, often setting his acoustic aside in favor of atmospheric synthesizers and distorted electric guitars. The songwriting for Ideal Man was partly inspired by Combs’ recent fascination with painting. Combs started painting when his wife was pregnant. (They welcomed a daughter in 2017.) “It really changed the way that I write songs,” he reflects. “When I paint, I might start with a very abstract idea or maybe even just a feeling, but from there I’ll paint and scrape and paint and erase and keep on painting until something starts to take shape. I just let nature play out.”
Combs first began garnering national attention for his music with the release of ‘Worried Man,’ his acclaimed 2012 debut. The record, which received the deluxe reissue treatment this year, earned Combs a slot at the iconic Newport Folk Festival alongside dates with Shovels & Rope and Houndmouth, and it prompted American Songwriter to proclaim that “[as far as] first albums go, it’ll be tough to beat this as one of the year’s finest.” Combs followed it up in 2015 with the similarly well-received ‘All These Dreams,’ which landed him performances with Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church among others, and then signed to New West Records in 2017 for his breakout third album, ‘Canyons Of My Mind.’ Songs from that record racked up more than 15 million streams on Spotify and prompted raves from Rolling Stone to NPR, who hailed him as “one of Nashville's most poetically gifted young singer-songwriters.”A Dallas native, Combs has called Nashville home since 2006, but when it came time to record ‘Ideal Man,’ he opted for a change, heading to Jupiter Recordings in Brooklyn, where he and his bandmates—drummer Dom Billet and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Bernhardt—cut the album in a series of short bursts with Cohen both playing guitar and producing.
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