Range of Habits
Texas born, Nashville based singer-songwriter Coombs takes his influences from beyond this simple geography and it is more to do with the past than present, although fifth track Pearl clearly evokes Ryan Adams. Listening to the opening two I heard the ghosts of Jimmy Webb and Mickey Newbury, though neither as an absolute echo, just a familiarity that suggested, as I’ve said, time rather than anything else. Then there is fourth Strange Bird that made me think of Kris Kristofferson in terms of the early songwriting, and with Long Gone Lately it’s instantly rock’n’roll balladry, including sweeping pop strings and a little spaghetti western whistling and castanets, so he is having some fun with this one. The piano ballad In The Name of You showcases a clean vocal, emotive heartbreak lyrics, and more strings to lavish the lachrymose of such a clichéd, if sweet offering. The ‘busted and broke’ opening to Slow Road to Jesus evokes Kris again, and a folk-gospel groove into which Coombs easily shifts and rests. Penultimate Month of Bad Habits ups the mood ante with snippets of guitar lead, but it is again quite polished, and overall there are these poppy elements that detract just a little from the songcraft, but it is all placed in context by closer Suwanee County, a gentle folk ballad kept honest by apt, atmospheric pedal steel: I would prefer more like.