Personnel: Andrew Combs (vocals, guitar); Jeremy Fetzer (guitar); Spencer Cullum (slide guitar); Michael Rinne (baritone guitar); Katie Studley, Zach Casebolt, Katelyn Westergard, Cassie Shudak (violin, strings); Lindsay Smith-Trostle (cello, strings); Micah Hulscher (accordion); Ian Fitchuk (keyboards, drums, percussion); Jordan Lehning (keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Skylar Wilson (keyboards, percussion); Eric Masse (percussion); Angel Snow, Natalie Prass, Molly Parden, Erin Rae McKaskle, Melissa Mathes (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Jordan Lehning.
Recording information: Nashville, Tennessee.
Photographer: Melissa Madison Fuller.
Arrangers: Jordan Lehning; Skylar Wilson; Andrew Combs.
The sophomore studio long-player from the Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, All These Dreams doubles down on Andrew Combs' '70s countrypolitan/soft rock predilections, offering up an always melodious and warmly lit distillation of all things Glen Campbell, Mickey Newbury, Mac Davis, and Harry Nilsson -- both the amiable opener "Rainy Day Song" and the easygoing "Nothing to Lose" regularly threaten to break into "Everybody's Talkin'." The album's first single, "Foolin'," perks things up a bit; with its steady, Jeff Lynne-inspired backbeat and earworm of a chorus, it finds a nice middle ground between the cool retro Americana of Caitlin Rose and the pure radio pop acumen of Traveling Wilburys-era Roy Orbison. That same architecture is revisited on songs like "Long Gone Lately" and the lovely title track, both of which strike a nice balance between fedora-wearing indie pop and heartache-heavy new and old country, but Combs is first and foremost a balladeer. Songs like the slow dance-ready "In the Name of You," the bucolic, pedal steel-laden closer "Suwannee County," and "Strange Bird," the latter a sweetly sung, smartly sentimental celebration of women both won and lost that would make Jim Croce smile, are so evocative of a certain age that you can almost smell the mingling of cigarette smoke and English Leather as you walk past the jukebox to order another pull-tab can of beer. All These Dreams, much like Combs' expressive voice, feels lived in and authentic, and while it may lack some of the gravitas of his heroes, it certainly never does them a disservice. ~ James Christopher Monger