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Cass McCombs Band

8 Jul 2011


Marfa, Texas


Cass McCombs

Ballroom Marfa and Marfa Book Company presented an evening with the Cass McCombs Band. McCombs played songs off his latest album Wit’s End along with selections from his body of work. Austin-based Musician Pink Nasty opened the show. 

Cass McCombs, who was born in Northern California in 1977, is a wordsmith of great economy and precision, whose work is notable for its stark beauty, play with musical genre, and layered, sometimes deceptive, narrative. A title or melody will often lead one way in a McCombs composition while the lyrics lead another. Somehow the songs thrive in the relationship. In the words of Will Butler, of National Public Radio, McCombs “stand(s) handsomely alongside today’s most celebrated songwriters.”

McCombs’ album, Wit’s End, is his darkest and most confident to date. Retaining the mellow croon and quiet organ of earlier work, the new album pushes into territory far lonelier than previous records. However, there is more than a lonely self at stake in these songs — alienation between people remains the salient theme of this work. McCombs does not shy from the harrowing while simultaneously examining what passes for humane. Recorded in cities around the U.S. and co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, Wit’s End provides lush, if unsettling, accompaniment for solitary nights.

Pink Nasty, is an  Austin-based musician who provided backup vocals for Bonnie Prince Billy on his tour Summer in the Southeast and the resulting concert album. (The Oldham brothers also recorded her 2007 album, Mold the Gold.) Pink Nasty’s pop melodies and sweet voice are in sharp contrast to her lyrics, in which desire comes to resemble anxiety.