Described as ‘a landscape where the personal & the pastoral converge’, Canyons Of My Mind is the latest release from Andrew Combs. A little bit sad and a little bit spiritual, this eleven-track album brings together country and folk, with soothing vocals dipped in alternative-rock. Available on Vinyl LP and CD.
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Spooky countryman Andrew Combs sounds haunted by the great outdoors on ‘Canyons of my Mind’, creating a record that opens on a pantomimic tune -- of Waterboys-level hype -- about troublesome thunder and lonesome valleys. Worried and trembling, he calls upon endtimes saxophones, scared piano and ecstatic guitar freakouts. Basically, you’re getting a lot more than your as-predicted pastoral folk outta this guy.
After reminding me of Kevin Morby’s recent grandiose approach to genre, Combs strikes me as someone who wants to make deeply felt and mysterious folk music. “Sleepwalker” still has a bedrock of country twang to it, in its voicing and picking, but its rhythm carries a jazzy air and its arrangements a terrible weight. “Rose Colored Blues” is a straightforward strummer but its hues are bold, its strings burdened with sentiment and Combs’ melodies sliding into an overwhelmed version of traditional country schmaltz a la Cherry Ghost.
When the arrangements go bold and tremendous like this, I very much like listening to this record -- out on his own, though, Combs can be jarring, with “Hazel” putting his rather cliched lyric -- “They call her Hazel / but she has the blackest eyes” -- at the fore with nothing to save it. Half of this record is a rather stunning rework and tribute to its genre, though, and certainly gives the listener their fair share of feeling like they’re out there in the valleys, encased in shrubbery.
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- Canyons Of My Mind by Andrew Combs
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