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Cass McCombs Haunts Heartbreak Hotels on ‘There Can Only Be One’

Cass McCombs There Can Only Be One Stream

If it seemed a bit ambitious for enigmatic songsmith Cass McCombs to release two albums in a year the last time he stepped out, well, the man’s scaling things back for 2013 — sort of. McCombs will follow his stellar 2011 pair (Wit’s End and Humor Risk) with one double album, the 22-track epic Big Wheel and Others. “Big Wheel” is indeed the name of one of the songs therein, making the LP title exactly the sort of droll troll we’d expect from the nomadic poet. McCombs’ label home Domino promises “road songs, rock songs, folk songs, blues songs, country songs, rhythm and blues songs, skronk non-songs, cinema songs, cult songs, poem songs, jams, and ballads.” (It’s unclear which of those is “Big Wheel” and which are the others.)

We’ve already heard the lovely, contemplative strummer “Morning Star” and now we’ve got a new taste to sample. “There Can Only Be One” is less ethereal, carved of electric guitar, hand drums, and impressively up-front vocals. “Broken down for days at a free motel under the Oregon ridge,” McCombs coos, continuing, “A broken heart’s a lifetime in this hell / I hope it’s water under the bridge.” Us too, but a bad relationship makes for a helluva muse.

Cass McCombs tour dates:

August 30 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival
September 2 – Manchester, UK @ Castle Hotel
September 5 – Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre
September 6 – Biddeford, ME @ The Oak and the Ax
September 7 – Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen
September 14 – Hudson, NY @ Basilica Soundscape 2013
January 13 – London, UK @ Queen Elizabeth Hall

Cass McCombs, Big Wheel and Others track list:

Disc 1
1. “Sean I”
2. “Big Wheel”
3. “Angel Blood”
4. “Morning Star”
5. “The Burning Of The Temple, 2012”
6. “Brighter!”
7. “There Can Be Only One”
8. “Name Written in Water”
9. “Joe Murder”
10. “Everything Has To Be Just-So”

Disc 2
1. “It Means A Lot To Know You Care”
2. “Dealing”
3. “Sooner Cheat Death Than Fool Love”
4. “Satan Is My Toy”
5. “Sean II”
6. “Home On The Range”
7. “Brighter!” (Featuring Karen Black)
8. “Untitled Spain Song”
9. “Sean III”
10. “Honesty Is No Excuse”
11. “Aeon Of Aquarius Blues”
12. “Unearthed”