Luke Combs’ performance was critiqued as a typical country style that appeals to a wide audience.


Luke Combs, a popular country singer, is currently performing in Glasgow. Similar to Shania Twain’s recent concert in the city, the audience at the Hydro arena is filled with people wearing cowboy hats. Combs, originally from North Carolina and now based in Nashville, is often considered to hold the same level of fame and crossover appeal as Twain did in the 1990s. Despite achieving mainstream success in the US for over five years, he has recently gained recognition in the UK with two top 10 albums – “Growin’ Up” and “Gettin’ Old” – and has sold out a series of arena shows in both the UK and Ireland.

Ed Sheeran is a contemporary peer of Combs, known for his relatable personality and simple approach. Combs’ backstory of auditioning for The Voice but being deemed not interesting enough for TV aligns with the current trend of seeking authenticity in popular music. With his performance of “Lovin’ on You” in 2019, Combs embodies the image of a southern everyman in his all-black attire and red cup in hand, as if he’s been invited on stage for a spontaneous barroom karaoke session. Backed by a band of seven, Combs’ sound is elevated on tracks like the energetic “Cold as You,” the reminiscent “The Kind of Love We Make,” and the lively “1, 2 Many” where he even shares a beer with a fan in the front row.

Ironically, despite Combs’ charming rural aura, his show is too polished to elevate the material beyond mediocrity. Combs’ stylized country vocals are effortlessly strong and his band is skilled and precise, but there is a missing element of magic. The slick presentation also reveals the formulaic nature of his songwriting: when he performs the mid-tempo songs “She Got the Best of Me” and “Hurricane” back-to-back, it’s difficult to distinguish between them. The set’s section with mostly slow ballads includes “Beautiful Crazy,” Combs’ somewhat overly sentimental ode to his wife, accompanied by screens showing numerous people wiping away tears. His flawless rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” showcases both his wide appeal and his limitations: Combs excels at replicating emotional moments, but lacks the depth and uniqueness of a truly great artist.


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