Cass McCombs Honors the Late Karen Black in 'Brighter!' Video

'Easy Rider' actress' widower directs clip for 'Big Wheel and Others' collaboration

Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

The late actress Karen Black is honored in the new video for her haunting Cass McCombs collaboration "Brighter!," from last year's double album Big Wheel and Others. Her final song with the nomadic folky — she also appears on sublime Catacombs track "Dreams-Come-True-Girl" — was recorded before she died of cancer on August 9, 2013, and her husband Stephen Eckleberry managed to capture footage from an at-home rehearsal on his iPhone. Seen above, that material, as well as bits taken from Black's films, are projected over a bleary-eyed McCombs while he plays the guitar. Below, you can read the widowers words about the video he directed. This is the second of four Cass clips due out in January — we saw "Big Wheel" a week ago — and it coincides with an international tour.

The director's statement:

Cass McCombs emailed me in late November 2013 and asked if I would create a music video for Brighter! - the song he recorded with Karen in December 2012 - using classic clips from her movies. It struck me as an opportunity to explore a theme that interests me - the relationship of film and memory. We watch a movie and the images from that movie become part of our memory stream.

My own memories of Karen are intertwined with memories of her in films - it gets messier for me since I directed several movies she was in - which memory is stronger; Karen during the making the film or what ended up on screen? An image came to me: Cass himself becoming a screen for the projection of images of Karen - as if his memories of her were playing themselves out over his body.

I found a clip I had shot with my iPhone when Cass was over at our house rehearsing the song with Karen, and I combined that with clips of her movies, some iconic, some more obscure, and I weaved in footage of fire, sparks, burning… The song does seem to deal with hell, or is it the hell of fame?

Cass McCombs tour dates:

January 13 - London, England @ Queen Elizabeth Hall
January 16 - Lisbon, Portugal @ Teatro Maria Matos
January 17 - Aveiro City, Portugal @ Teatro Aveirense
January 18 - VN Famalicao, Portugal @ Casa de Artes
January 19 - Santiago, Spain @ Salon Teatro de Santiago
January 20 - Madrid, Spain @ El Sol
January 21 - Cadiz, Spain @ Edificio
January 23 - Barcelona, Spain @ La Sala (2) Apolo
January 24 - Bordeaux, France @ Bordeaux Rocks
January 25 - Rouen, France @ Le 106
January 26 - Paris, France @ MoFo Festival
January 30 - Melbourne, Australia @ Northcote Social Club
January 31 - Brisbane, Australia @ Laneway
February 01 - Melbourne, Australia @ Laneway
February 02 - Sydney, Australia @ Laneway
February 06 - Sydney, Australia @ Oxford Art Factory
February 07 - Adelaide, Australia @ Laneway
February 08 - Fremantle, Australia @ Laneway
February 17-20 - Suffolk, England @ Latitude Festival

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