Luke Combs is back with his new album "Gettin' Old," which dropped on March 24. The 18-track album arrived nine months after his third album, "Growin' Up."
Combs returned to the punchy, classic country sound found on his first few EPs and albums. There are no features on the album, which isn't a bad thing. Combs produced an album that was purely his and a little less radio-based.
Combs broke free from his beer-drinking branding in "Joe," a song about sobriety. The slow track is one for those who enjoy country music but don't necessarily partake in the party lifestyle for various reasons. There's a sweet piano in the background that couples the sincerity of Combs' tone. It's a nice step away from his traditional songs.
"Take You With Me" is Combs' tribute to his son, Tex Lawrence, and the memories he hopes to share with him. Combs sings about Tex learning the difference between a "turtle" and a "rabbit" on a tractor and the day Tex learns that "Take You With Me" is about him. The track is bouncy and enjoyable.
Combs partnered with Dave Turnbull, who has credits on "The Boys of Fall" by Kenny Chesney and long-time co-writer Randy Montana, who has credits on "Houston, We've Got a Problem" and "Beer Never Broke My Heart," for "Where The Wild Things Are." Combs croons about adventuring with his brother in southern California, where "it's hearts on fire and crazy dreams" and "the nights ignite like gasoline." It's got the makings of a classic freedom song.
There's a kick to "Hannah Ford Road" that Combs hasn't brought since "Angels Workin' Overtime." It's a new take on the classic trope of young couples in love running around doing things they ought not to. This middle track is a perfect candidate for song of the summer.
"Growin' Up" also features "5 Leaf Clover," a fan-favorite that Combs posted snippets of on social media well before the album's launch. "5 Leaf Clover" is the ballad Combs released as a single, which was a good move considering the hype.
"5 Leaf Clover" really lived up to the noise. The sweet chorus of, "Now I hit my knees, thankful as can be / But the one thing I can't get over / How'd a guy like me, who'd have been fine with three / Wind up with a five-leaf clover?" The track ranks high with other Combs' ballads such as "Beautiful Crazy."
Fans have long enjoyed Combs' covers, which he's shared via live streams and YouTube videos. One of those covers, Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," found its way onto the album. Combs gave new life to an already strong song by adding more of a country flow to the acoustic track.
Other enjoyable songs are "Back 40 Back" and "You Found Yours." The former is a slower song reminiscing on the way a town used to look before developments took over. The latter has a build-up to the chorus that emphasizes Combs' voice.
"Fox in the Henhouse" is the song on the album that feels the most like a classic country track. Combs brings in a bluegrass sound that he's explored before, thanks to the writing of Jamie Davis, Dan Isbell and Dustin Nunley. Combs is a little more gritty than usual, but it works for him.
Overall, "Gettin' Old" is a huge leap from "Growin' Up."It feels more true to Combs and country music. It's a strong album with songs that can stand on their own. Combs is sure to find the charts with these tracks.