C2C 2016: Andrew Combs

P1010033This is a guy that raised a few eyebrows when his name was included on the C2C 2016 main stage line-up. Especially when you consider the later additions of David Nail, Charlie Worsham and Lauren Alaina on the pop-up stages; artists with a much larger following and more success in the mainstream country music industry.

However, when you delve into the music of Andrew Combs, it isn’t a great mystery as to why C2C came calling. It is very rare you find an artist that genuinely hasn’t made a poor song, but Andrew Combs is one of those. His albums are intricately crafted pieces of art, with quality song writing and sublime musicianship throughout.

Every year at C2C, there seems to be an artist on the bill that surprises the audience with their sheer talent, and leaves C2C with a whole new fan base. Last year, it was Kip Moore. Before that, it was Dierks Bentley. This year, it was most certainly Andrew Combs. The main concern for us was that much of the audience might not show up for Andrew, but thanks to his recent appearance on Bob Harris Country, people recognised that they had a special show in store. It was short and sweet, but one that will live long in the memory.

Dressed in his signature casual attire, Andrew took to the stage with ‘Foolin’, one of the stand-outs from his stunning ‘All These Dreams’ album (one of the best we’ve heard in a long long time, you must check it out!). This is so Roy Orbison, and it has such a classic, traditional feel about it. But it connects so well with a modern audience, and you can’t help singing along to the chorus!

The highlight of Andrew’s show was ‘Suwannee County’, the final track on ‘All These Dreams’. No powerhouse instrumentation required, just a simple but equally beautiful melody that allows Andrew’s vocals to shine. A wonderfully written description of a small county in Florida, ‘Suwannee County’ deserves so much more success and recognition than it will inevitably receive. His vocals were truly stunning, and many people around the O2 were on their feet to applaud the performance.

‘Emily’ was also a highlight. You won’t find this on either of Andrew’s albums; it was an independently released song, but it has become a regular feature in his live shows. You’ll struggle to find a catchier song. “E-M-I-L-Y-WHY-WHY-TELL ME EMILY!” is still stuck in our heads now! The audience connected with it instantly, and Andrew had the whole crowd singing along by the second chorus. If you like, he had us wrapped around his finger “like a chain around a D-O-G”….(sorry, that was awful!)

Andrew concluded his set with ‘Month Of Bad Habits’, such a cleverly written track with haunting yet beautifully crafted instrumentation. It was a joy to hear a full band performing it live. As much as we loved the pop-country acts on the previous 2 days, this was real country. This was real music. Andrew Combs certainly walked away from the O2 with a lot more fans than he walked in with, and we can’t wait for him to return to the UK. His show set the tone for what was a stunning few hours of quality music.

Setlist:

Foolin’
Please, Please, Please
Suwannee County
All These Dreams
Emily
Too Stoned To Cry
Month Of Bad Habits