Song of the Day: Andrew Combs - Dirty Rain

Song of the Day
04/04/2017
Gabe Pollak
photo by Andrew White

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “Dirty Rain,” by Andrew Combs, from his upcoming 2017 album, Canyons of my Mind, due April 7th on New West Records.

Andrew Combs - Dirty Rain (MP3)At this point in his career, it's safe to say that 30-year-old singer-songwriter Andrew Combs is firmly planted in the country world. After graduating high school in Dallas, TX, Combs immediately split for Nashville, where he quickly made a name for himself. He's now earned high praise from critics - NPR Music and No Depression spilled much ink about Comb's 2015 sophomore release, All These Dreams - and toured Europe with household names like Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgrave.

Canyons of my Mind finds Combs treading slightly different territory. "Dirty Rain" is a modern-day folk anthem about gentrification and the loss of green spaces, casting Combs more so as a folk hero (Dylan, Baez) than a country troubadour (Campbell, Nilsson). Against the sound of a warm acoustic, Combs worries about the world the next generation will inherit: "What will all of our little children say? / When the only place to play is in the dirty rain." Like a father nearly moved to tears over a sick child, Combs' voice trembles, but does not break, as he sings the high note of "children." It's painfully beautiful.

As much as Combs slips into folk with "Dirty Rain" - one may find it hard not to think of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" while listening - he retains the gorgeous production of a song that could only be made in Nashville. The string arrangement is incredibly moving, making Combs' timeless questions and poetic imagery all the more impossible to forget. How could you want it any other way?

Combs tours Canyons of my Mind into July, but unfortunately he isn't making any stops in the PNW. Be sure to check his website for added dates. For the time being, you can check out the video for "Dirty Rain" below.

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