The Austin Chronicle

Next Up at SXSW: Andrew Combs

By William Harries Graham, March 13, 2015, 10:00am, Earache!

Next Up’s fourth and final SXSW preview lands on Nashville Americana/country artist Andrew Combs, who released sophomore album All These Dreams last week. Critics are already singing its praises.

Previously, Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear, Zeke Duhon, and Ben Arthur all made the cut. Combs’ obvious commitment to songcraft completes a quartet of sorts. He grew up in Dallas before heading to Tennessee to make his mark.

“I moved to Nashville in 2006,” begins Combs. “I always had it in mind that’s where I needed to be, mostly because all of my songwriting heroes either live here or have lived here. I wanted to give it a shot too. My thoughts were, ‘If I can’t make it here, I can’t make it anywhere else.’”

Now 28, Combs gained serious traction performing at the Newport Folk Festival the last few years. When he talks about his career so far, he demonstrates patience and trust that things are unfolding as they should. His motto: Stop caring about others think.

“I quit working at a restaurant in 2012 when I got my publishing deal [with Razor and Tie],” he says. “I haven’t had to work a ‘real job’ since then. Hopefully it stays that way because I really don’t know how to do much else besides play music. And fish!”

Combs’ songwriting has been compared to the likes of Texas legend Guy Clark.

“It’s a flattering compliment, but I’ve got a long way to go before I even come close to being as good as Clark. I just try and keep my head down and stay focused.”

The single “Nothing to Lose” from the new album was shot in a timeless black and white film. Combs’ singing evokes Harry Nilsson.

“I’d say my top three songwriters are Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury, and Kris Kristofferson. I’m also a huge fan of Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, and Paul Simon,” lists the singer. “Sometimes my writing starts with words, other times it’s a melody. Sometimes I co-write with friends, other times I write by myself.

England remains Combs’ live highlight:

“Playing Union Chapel in London was definitely a big moment for me. It’s just such a beautiful room. I’d also have to say playing End of the Road Festival [in the UK] has been a favorite too”.

Andrew Combs’ SXSW showcase is on Friday, March 20, at Lucky Lounge, 10pm.

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