But in the years since he released his debut single “Hurricane,” I feel like he’s taught us all how to be ourselves, not to wait around for perfection, and just do what comes naturally.
For him, that seems to happen every day, and today was no exception.
He tweeted a video on Monday (Sept. 9) that was shot the very first time he was singing his new song “Even Though I’m Leaving” live. It’s not glamorous. It’s not choreographed. It’s not over-produced, over-analyzed or over-anythinged. It sounds cliché, but it is in every sense of the word, as authentic as Combs is.
The very best part of the video, aside from Combs, is the crowd. Because they are so clearly moved by the ballad, and they are clinging so tight to every word Combs is singing, that you don’t see one cell phone trying to capture it. His fans are literally living in the moment for almost four minutes.
Combs wrote the song with Wyatt Durrette and Ray Fulcher, and even though he isn’t a father himself, the lyrics do paint a picture of the more sentimental family-man side of Combs.
In a conversation I had with Combs at the end of his first big break-out year, he shared a story with me about his own dad and mom. “About a year after I’d moved to Nashville, I’d saved up money in a coffee can and bought a new Ford Fusion. I literally had all the cash in this coffee can. I hadn’t made any money off my music yet, but when we’d play live shows, whatever money I had left over after I paid everyone else went into this coffee can. Every month, I’d count it. At the time, I was driving a 2000 Dodge Neon with manual windows and manual locks. So any car with air conditioning was real nice for me. Then a year later I bought a truck, so I gave that Fusion to my parents,” Combs told me. “You can never prepare yourself for (fame). Never. You can have 100 people tell you about it, but you never truly understand. What it’s allowed me to do, though, is buy a house, and help my parents out.”
Combs parents were by his side, too, when he decided at a young age that he wasn’t into country music like they were. “When you’re between 8-11 years old, I think, you just listen to what your parents listen to. It’s not up to you. But then when I was about 13, I was like, ’I’m a grown up now, so I want to listen to what I want to listen to.'”
And at that age, what he wanted was Pearl Jam tickets. “I was so young that I had to go to the concert with my mom,” he laughed.
The next stop on Combs’ Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour is on Sept. 26 in Rogers, Arkansas.