Cass McCombs was born in 1977 and raised in Northern California. He is of the generation that grew up hearing the stories still fresh on people’s minds: Zodiac killings, Zebra killings, Manson, Black Panthers, SLA, riots, People’s Park, LSD, etc. These were the local legends and became the basis for McCombs’ imagination. He is a child of the 70s. Since leaving the area, he lived many years drifting the U.S. until ever attempting to make music seriously. He has said that from this experience he learned to listen to people’s stories from many walks of life. Instead of university, this was his education. McCombs worked as a janitor, in a horse stable, a book shop; he was a soda jerk, a truck driver, and a movie projectionist. He worked construction in New Jersey and at a midtown NYC delicatessen. McCombs developed his narrative songwriting style, and since has always expressed himself through the use of characters. He writes stories for his friends using their humour, their language, with detail and color, relating their drug use to classical literary themes, for instance. Rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the confessional singer-songwriter, he describes the lifestyles and feelings of those that surround him, with more love than judgment. McCombs is a mirror.
Deeply distrustful of the Business, McCombs has stayed relatively underground, supported by a devoted fan base and his label/publisher. In 2010, Domino Records hired a photo-surveillance private investigator to follow McCombs and take what would be become the publicity shots for Wit’s End. Examples such as this suggest that he and mainstream acceptance are in a state of perpetual stalemate. However, in contrast to his persona, McCombs’ music is generous, the melodies always infectious, the production and musicianship first-rate. And at the forefront of his craft are always the lyrics, which more than any songwriter today propels the avant-garde. He presents morally ambiguous situations for the listener, allowing them to interpret however they choose. McCombs has always refused to speak his influences, except for American folk music and The Beatles. He is a folk artist, telling the stories of his native land in a modern tongue.
Big Wheel and Others is Cass McCombs’ seventh-and-a-half album and will be released October 15th (October 14th in the rest of the world) on Domino Records.
Within his decade-long career, most recently releasing WIT'S END and Humor Risk in 2011, Big Wheel and Others is McCombs’ most encompassing work to date, marking a bold new chapter in the myth of this fascinating and singular artist. It’s brimming with McCombs’ gift for evocative storytelling, discerning introspection, and heartrending melody delivered through a haze of mystery and romance.
Big Wheel and Others comprises twenty-two songs (or, as they are more often and unfortunately known in the After Compact Disc—hereafter “ACD” era—tracks). But “double album” implies bloat, prog, and concept, so, let’s stick with “songs.” Big Wheel and Others is a bundle, a bindle, a hay bale, and an oil barrel of songs. Some of the genres that are to be found in varying degrees in the songs on this album are: road songs, rock songs, folk songs, blues songs, country songs, rhythm and blues songs, skronk non-songs, cinema songs, cult songs, poem songs, jams, and ballads - to use however you wish.
Big Wheel and Others will be available on double CD, standard and limited edition 2xLP and digital. The limited edition 2xLP (limited to 500) features special packaging, an alternate album cover, and an exclusive 7" containing unreleased tracks. The double CD and limited edition 2xLP are available exclusively now for pre-order through the Domino Mart; all orders receive “There Can Be Only One” as an instant grat download.
Cass McCombs Domino Page
Listen to "There Can Only Be One"
Cass McCombs Press:
For Booking enquiries please email isla[at]nomanis.com