Luke Combs – What You See Is What You Get (Columbia Nashville)
Luke Combs epitomises ‘less is more’.
His stripped-down country classics might appear overly simplistic.
But the newly crowned CMA Male Vocalist Of The Year has successfully filtered the very essence of the genre to create a stunning 17-song set.
And where Combs is concerned What You See is, unequivocally, What You Get.
So what do you get?
Plenty of references to drinking – Combs proudly kicks things off with the monster hit Beer Never Broke My Heart.
Refrigerator Door is hot on its heels. Unlike so many of Combs’ canny lyrics, it’s a song that’s more about what’s on the outside, rather than the inside.
But behind the door there’s bound to be beer upon beer upon beer.
Whiskey is also a favourite tipple and it’s referenced in the first verse of the cliché-packed Lovin’ On You.
Fishing, Brooks & Dunn (who contribute to 1,2 Many), Marlboro and cowboy boots are all there too as Combs creates the ultimate ode to the country life.
So far, so simple. Or is it?
Not at all. Combs is, in fact, an incredibly clever guy.
The laddish themes at the heart of WYSIWYG bely a far deeper emotional connection to friends, family, community and country.
Take Angels Working Overtime. In typical fashion Combs introduces his ‘barstool best friends’ as ‘my kinda crowd’.
But this is a thought-provoking song that will resonate with any working-class soul seeking to make a living – and with concerned parents looking out for their kids the world over.
Combs’ songs often operate on two levels. Those looking for nothing more than a rabble-rousing trip into familiar country territory can have their fill.
But those seeking cutting social commentary will find plenty to like about WYSIWYG.
Combs’ has cornered both markets – and more.
And if the CMA Song of 2019 – Beautiful Crazy – might never be bettered this is a record spawning serious contenders right, left and centre.
The new Golden Boy of country can do no wrong.
Luke no further for your next country fix.