Cass McCombs’ Endlessly Intriguing “Big Wheel and Others”

Courtesy of Domino USA


Cass McCombs
Big Wheel and Others
Domino

Showing little interest in image-building, Cass McCombs has quietly compiled an impressive body of work over the last decade that affirms the viability of the old-fashioned American singer-songwriter. With Big Wheel and Others, however, he may grab the spotlight in spite of himself.

Running nearly 90 minutes, this sprawling two-disc set brims with striking songs—some of them memorable vignettes of troubled souls, some of them cryptic pronouncements—ranging from delicate and dreamy (“Angel Blood”) to ominous and brooding (“Joe Murder”) to swaggering and determined (“Honesty Is No Excuse”), all of it tied together by diffident vocals that are more tantalizing than revealing.

Highlights include a tender, toe-tapping duet with the recently deceased actress Karen Black (“Brighter!”) and “Everything Has to Be Just So,” a hallucinatory nine-minute head trip. Like M. Ward, only quieter, Cass McCombs is an endlessly intriguing troubadour.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.