ANDREW COMBS – Sundays (Loose Music)

SundaysAndrew Combs’ Sundays, written and recorded under the confines of Covid and in the aftermath of a “mental breakdown”, finds its mono melodic redemption, in a record that is (in his own words) “about slowing down and finding grace and importance in the chaos of the world right now.

Now, to quote Emily Dickinson (as I am often wont to do!), “Much Madness is divinest Sense – To a discerning Eye”.

Well, this is music for a “discerning” ear.

The first song, ‘God(less)’, carves a template: A primitive guitar strums bare-knuckle chords, while Andrew’s voice sings a hidden secret, and the bass and drum pulse with a tough funeral intent. But then the tune ignites with a Ferris wheel slide guitar solo. The tune whispers wisdom. And, by the way, the song (again in his own words), “is about our flawed human existence, even its most harsh and ugly form, can look beautiful, worthy, and god-like”.

As Dorothy once said to her dog Toto, “I have a feeling that we’re not in Kansas any more”.

But the swift melodies continue to float down steam in an existential dream. ‘Anna Please’ adds a subtle sax to the mix, while AC’s vocals soar into a sublime and soulful orbit. Then, ‘Mark Of The Man’ is an acoustic confession, again with AC’s sublime vocals framed by ghostly (and delightful!) “brooding woodwinds”. This fragile and billowed cobweb music. The same is true for ‘Still Water’— as the song dives into the deep waters where folk, soul, and a pretty great melody find a common current. And oh my – AC lets his tenor voice fly, while the lyrics drip will a very certain pursuit of philosophical uncertainties. Then, ‘The Ship’ is simple and dreamy (with more sax!) and it echoes the gentle work of John Lennon. Indeed, this is music for a “discerning” ear, but a very human ear that still craves a really nice melody that flows “across the universe”.

‘Truth And Love’ investigates the melodic pulse of the human heart, as it sings with the tenderness of John Martyn in one of endless pursuits of the beautiful and gentle side of humanity, a place that “only wants to know about love” or perhaps, even more contemplation of Keats’ ‘Grecian Urn’ poetic soul.

In contrast, as every song can’t run in the ripples of the Tigris and Euphrates on the third day of creation, ‘Adeline’ is a bumpy ride through young love, warts and all, as of course, “the flower dies”. But (darn!) if the melody isn’t infectious, like a really good Al Stewart song. Big compliment!

And ‘Down Among The Dead’ (in total contrast again) ups the big dramatic ante with a sax pulsed pretty great folk-pop tune, with a weird keyboard cross-circuit electronic plip worthy of a Brian Eno/Roxy Music sonic tough twister. You know, despite all the philosophic lyricism of these songs, it’s important to mention that these tunes are just quite catchy and a hell of a lot of fun to hear.

Oh – ‘Drivel To A Dream’ could almost be a pretty great Bee Gees song from those brothers Gibb who courted the radio world heart with delicious melodies. But those “brooding woodwinds” and electric guitar once again inject the tune with deep drama. And, by the way, need I mention Andrew’s sublime tenor voice once again?

Then, ‘I See Me’ returns to the tough funeral intent, which only intensifies the deep beauty of this music.

The album ends with the harmonium graced ‘Shall We Go’, which besides being influenced by (of all things!) Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, sounds like an outtake from a British folk revival band that belongs in that Topic Records big compilation Three Score & Ten. And that’s a very strange thing to say about a singer-songwriter born in Texas.

Indeed, as Samuel Beckett wrote, “But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like or not. Let us make the most of it, before it’s too late”.

Of course, Beckett also simply says, “Why not?

And that’s the gist of Sundays – an album with burning bush wisdom and a folk song mono melodic redemption, that, indeed, is all about “finding grace and importance in the chaos of the world right now”, because well, as Dorothy once said to her ever faithful dog Toto, “we’re not in Kansas any more”.

Bill Golembeski

Artist’s website:

‘God(less)’ – official video:

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