Cass McCombs

Big Wheel and Others (Domino)

FFF Nites: Saturday

Cass McCombs

Big Wheel and Others (Domino)

Gentle outlaw Cass McCombs luxuriates in sunlit California landscapes, weaving offbeat tales of carousing and yearning on Big Wheel and Others. Running a languid 85 minutes, his seventh studio album – a double – sifts through the dust of the Old West anchored by Dan Iead's whining steel guitar ("Angel Blood," "Everything Has to Be Just-­So"), and grounded in the earthy percussion of Parker Kindred. On the title cut, McCombs' acoustic guitar uptempos through Left Coast truck-stop restlessness, pausing just long enough to reference the hymn "Peace in the Valley." As ever, the hero here is the singer's golden voice, equal parts Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler and the Shins' James Mercer. The deep groove on "The Burning of the Temple, 2012" with Kevin Bouley on sax gives way to blissful "Brighter," re­imagined on the second disc by late Easy Rider actress Karen Black. Held together by three guitarists – McCombs, Sleepy Doug Shaw, and Mike Bones – "Unearthed" closes Big Wheel on a turbulent note, precious calm before another storm. (9:45pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater)


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