Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Photo by Daily Ikon Photography.
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Nashville acoustic fingerstylist Combs plays with a passionate clarity that makes the listener sit up and take notice from the very first note of “Chasing Guitar,” his third release. Yet this is a contemplative, at times even somber, CD. Combs’ precision and evocative songwriting is showcased in a range of compositions: “Flying Wing” leans Celtic, “Dashington” is a bluesy bent-string romp that employs superfast arpeggios, and other pieces, like the lovely lighthearted “Awaken,” employ ringing overtones and pulloffs as sharp as a pin prick. Combs has an extraordinarily light touch on the strings, as if he were playing silk instead of steel. While he clearly favors sonority and emotional depth over dazzle, virtuosity is fully evident, as on the moody rumbling “Sponge Cake.” Given the meditative quality of the CD, it is no surprise that several songs have religious inspirations, such as the gorgeous “The Offering” and a lovely rendition of the hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” While the CD could perhaps have used a jolt or two of the unexpected, “Chasing Guitar” is nevertheless truly mesmerizing.
— Minor 7th
In the 1960’s John Fahey and a few others started a whole movement of guitar music based on traditional themes. Danny Combs is a young guitarist from Asheville, North Carolina whose music belongs to that tradition. On this album, his first on the Solid Air label, he does 14 original tunes. They are all very nicely done. Most have a slightly bluesy feel, much in the vein of the afore-mentioned Fahey. This is an album that will delight those who enjoy instrumental guitar music.
— Victory Review Magazine
Debut albums can sometimes receive kind notices, with reviewers not wanting to crush the spirit of an aspiring and developing musician. For Danny Combs’ debut “Guitar Out Front” on Solid Air Records (a notable achievement to start), kindness isn’t necessary; it’s just a fine record and stands on its own. With clear and precise playing and finely crafted melodies, Combs captures the essence of modern fingerstyle songcraft. With a background in classical guitar, Combs releases his steel string in open tunings, allowing the extra ringing quality to hang in the air, with musical depth dropping from the notes. One song that reflects this is the final cut, “Going to Kansas”, that takes the listener on a journey slow enough to enjoy but not too slow to want to get off. The jaunty “Here We Go” uses descending chord progressions to effectively emphasize movement and hope. Many of the songs have a slow, contemplative air, like “Contemplation”, “Cedar Creek”, and “Baby Steps”. Bent strings and hammer-ons punctuate the solid melody on “Contemplation”. “Stained Glass” is a bit darker in color than most of the songs on the CD, but its melody is riveting and entangles the listener. Celtic flavors in DADGAD tuning touch the upbeat “Bartholomew’s Jig”. Combs shows some well-groomed chops on this debut CD, the recording is top notch, and anyone who likes modern fingerstyle guitar would do well to give it a listen.
— Minor 7th
Christ, church, family, friends, and a dog named Palmer are all inspirations to Danny Combs…to me, it is these inspirations that allow Danny to write and play music that is beautiful, powerful, and touching all at the same time.
— John Roten – WPEX/WMXF
Nashville guitarist Danny Combs has already made his mark in the area as an instructor and also an active participant in music ministry at St. Bartholomew’s Church. His current CD spotlights Combs’ proficiency as an acoustic stylist, particularly as a finger-style exponent. The 14 instruments vary from introspective and country-flavored tunes to traditional works like “Bartholomew’s Jig” or “Going To Kansas.” He is comfortable in any genre, and while clearly a master technician, isn’t interested in dazzling via speed or intricacy. Instead, Combs emphasizes melodic development, pacing and grabbing listeners through complete presentation rather than flashes and fireworks. But he also includes the tuning patterns for each number, enabling those who want to chronicle the musical structure a chance to appreciate his playing as much as those attracted simply because of its lyrical charm and beauty.
— The City Paper, Nashville
All cuts on this CD are played with skilled techniques, dedication and passion…A wonderful CD from an amazing talented guitarist.
— Bridge Guitar Reviews
Danny Combs is one of the cleanest acoustic guitar players I have ever encountered. His song writing is passionate, enchanting and filled with excitement…a true talent.
— Tony Vines – Luthier/Recording Artist
Danny Combs’s music has the ability to be both fresh and rootsy at the same time. His skillful and adept guitar playing contains an array of styles that has Appalachian, blues and folk elements that are eminently listenable. Like a good cup of coffee, you’ll want seconds, if not thirds!
— Mark Baldwin –Dove Award Nominee has played/toured with Whitney Houston, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, and many more
I’ve known Danny for several years now and his playing never ceases to amaze me. His playing is very pure.
— Jason Roberts – Professional Guitarist has played/toured with Norah Jones, Ben Kweller, Hymns, Beck and Incubus