Profile: Cass McCombs
Californian alt-country nomad set for UK tour
McCombs. Cass McCombs. Or ‘Combs’, as his close friends call him (we like to think).
He’s that Californian alt-country nomad, right?
Correct. The harmonious, folk-rocking ‘Combs’ has spent most of his adulthood travelling America, writing songs. He’s worked in stables, building sites and bookshops, and slept by campfires, on buses, on couches and in cars along the way. The wandering pop sage shows little sign of settling down. Indeed, he has said he wishes his gravestone inscription to read, ‘home at last’.
I really like that song, ‘California Dreaming’.
That’s Mama Cass.
‘The Sound of Violence’ was good too.
So what does Cass McCombs sound like then?
He’s the dude whose enduring reference points are American folk and The Beatles; who John Peel once described as ‘unobtrusively brilliant’; who has been releasing folksy poetic vignettes since 2001, on albums such as last year’s dulcet two-pronged attack Humor Risk and Wit’s End (Domino). It is likely these recent works will feature when McCombs plays in Glasgow. But we can’t be sure.
Can you phone him and find out?
Not really. McCombs’ self-honed mythology is big on question marks, shadows and general mystery. He is reluctant to discuss himself or his music, and last year he allegedly enforced a moratorium on most face-to-face, phone and email interviews. Handwritten postal consultations were considered. The List has written to McCombs, to ask if he will partake in an interview via carrier pigeon, but thus far there has been no reply.
Stereo, Glasgow, Tue 6 Mar.