Andrew, Three Chords and The Truth

In a recent (excellent) interview in American Songwriter, Andrew Combs opined how much he never wanted to rewrite the same song. Having released 3 albums it is always his intention to keep moving forward.

Since releasing his second album, ‘All These Dreams’ Andrew has been played regularly on Another Country and he’s making his 4th visit to see us in as many years. His first was an outrider with Caitlin Rose on a session a few years back.

One beautiful thing which happens with Andrew’s songs as often as it happens with the best….Randy Newman, Harland Howard, Richard Rogers, Joni Mitchell…is the beautiful melodic shifts and patterns which still occur over, what my pal, ‘The Swan’ calls the usual chords. Harlan himself declared the secret to be ‘three chords and the truth’ and for that we must be grateful. Why is it however that these three chords can seem valid and simplistic in the wrong hands and wholly beautiful, moving and of God-like perfection with the right custodian? I have no idea, but I do know Andrew Combs to be in the latter camp. He makes these old changes sing.

Live and surrounded by his good musical companions he’s great too. At last year’s C2C he was the surprise opener to the second night and he won over many friends despite his legitimate concerns that he ‘wasn’t really very country.’ Of course, that tag is one which we often like as it usually means they are country enough to get us interested but not locked into the brainmash that is bro’ country. Andrew could not be further from that bold tradition if he tried. I love how much how much he follows where the song wants to go.

You can all of that for yourself as Andrew and his tour combo perform a session they recorded for us on their travels back in May. You’ll also hear how Andrew reminds me of so many of my favourite songwriters not least Canada’s Gordon Lightfoot…and how it seems it’s me and Andrew’s Dad who keep on about this. There’s much more too but you’ll need to tune in to hear all of that.

We’ll also have an interesting sequence inspired and including the late Johnny Cash which includes a great instrumental by the great Martin Belmont. Look out too for new music from Beth Nielson Chapman, Joan Osborne, Slaid Cleave and David Ramirez too.

All on BBC Radio Scotland FM this Tuesday evening from five past nine.

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