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Andrew Combs, All These Dreams (Coin Records, 2015)

Originally published on October 6, 2016.

The heart of All These Dreams is “Pearl.” It is fifth of eleven songs, linking the first group of songs, beginning with “Rainy Day Song, with the last, ending with “Suwannee County.”

In "Pearl" Andrew Combs provides us with vignettes of so-called “losers," a drunk, a junkie, a prostitute and a crooked cop, each with a backstory. The corrupt cop saves a life; the drunk plays "a mean guitar"… the stuff of cliché. That Combs manages to craft a meaningful and moving song out of these staple stories, speaks volumes about his artistic abilities.

One of the images in “Pearl” is a rainbow in a puddle. This redemptive rainbow links with the easier-to-pray-when-the-skies are grey of “Rainy Day Song” and the grace of God evident in the night sky (“Suwannee County”).

The production and playing throughout All My Dreams is meticulous. Ironically, this is problematic. The trouble is the music is too smooth and seamless for the rough territory described in the lyrics. If Combs releases a live album and includes some of these songs, I suspect that their excellence will be even more evident.

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