Cass McCombs – Big Wheel and Others


Crafting a solid double album is a lofty undertaking for any artist but that hasn’t stopped roaming American troubadour Cass McCombs from throwing his hat into the double-disced ring for Big Wheel and Others .

Following the one-two punch of 2011’s Humor Risk and Wit’s End the ambitious followup has a lot to offer: jazz-flirting skronk rock pedal-steel-led country pastoral folk road songs drug ballads blues stompers and lots in between. But at the album’s core this is still very much Cass being Cass as he dives into a sprawling musical exploration of wild weird America through poetic often touching songcraft.

With lyrics more picturesque than ever Big Wheel and Others definitely hits more than it misses loading the highlights on thick via tracks like the tear-flowing “Brighter!” (sung once by McCombs and again by late songwriter Karen Black) Southern-tinged “Angel Blood” jazzed-up instrumental “It Means a Lot to Know You Care” a Thin Lizzy cover and the album’s ever-so-cute/frightening four-year-old narrator.

But yes with 22 songs and 85 minutes it’s a lot to take in. That said McCombs sounds more creatively charged than ever and won’t likely run out of ideas any time soon.