“The Great Divide”
Luke Combs feat. Billy Strings
Written by Luke Combs, Billy Strings, and Wyatt Durrette
So, speaking as someone who adores Billy Strings and considers “Away From the Mire” to be an all-time favorite, I was excited by the prospects of him working with Luke Combs, arguably the current biggest force in mainstream country music, outside of Morgan Wallen. Outside of Miranda Lambert, it’s rare to see these types of collaborations that bridge a divide of a different variety, where mainstream acts even bother acknowledging that there’s a completely different scene of talent out there. And hopefully that bluegrass album Combs teased on social media will actually come to fruition one day.
OK, now it’s time to get snarky, mostly because this is yet another predictable call for unity that’s basically just tonally better and more well-structured than “Undivided,” though that’s not a high bar to clear. And I’d like to stress that it’s not so much bad as it is disappointing, mostly because these types of songs rely on generic platitudes that are so inoffensive, they end up being offensive. There’s nothing wrong with unity that comes with heaping helping of accountability, you know, especially given the events of the past month.
Now, as for what I do like about this, I’m reminded of another Combs song, oddly enough – “Even Though I’m Leaving.” It’s underplayed in the vocal and carries some slightly moody touches, with this outright opting for minor tones that, at the very least, reflect the tension of what it’s trying to sell. I certainly don’t doubt the sincerity behind it, especially when it’s an unlikely collaboration happening over some star-studded collaboration with too many cooks in the kitchen. And when, again, you have Strings flat-picking and Charlie Worsham contributing instrumentally, there’s a real chemistry there. It also helps that it’s not a true duet, but I’m just not sure who this song is for, really.