September 14, 2008

Cormac McCarthy

A most enjoyable evening in Watertown at a house concert featuring Cormac McCarthy, and his wife Sammmy Haynes.

Cormac McCarthy is one of those folkies I never got around to hearing. (And for the record, I've also somehow avoided his more famous literary doppelganger). Contemporary with one of my early favorites, Bill Morrissey - they were college roommates, and cowrote the song Married Man, which I know from Bill's 1986 release North). Last night Cormac played Married Man, and it was interesting to hear his version of it (very different from Bill's).

Mostly, I was struck by the way time takes it's toll. I'm sure I've had a sort of hunky folk-singer image of Cormac - young Boston folk circuit rogue in a denim jacket. And perhaps that was he, back in 1986 when the world was younger. I was probably just starting to listen to folk music back then (by dint of a musician spouse). And in the 20+ years since, Cormac has put out four albums - certainly not a deluge of work. But he's been busy with other things. He and Sammy recently celebrated 27 years together. Their son who just turned 19 is in college. I met his dog, whose been hanging around for 15 years.

Surfing around on his website, I find links to two more of my favorite folkies: Cliff Eberhardt and Lucy Kaplansky. they are both playing around; have seen each of them at Falcon Ridge in recent years as well as individual concerts. And a surprise - Kristina Olsen, who I saw back in the early 90's - and was impressed enough to pick up her first (and perhaps only, at the time) disk. She's in New Zealand these days and has had a fairly prolific career.

I picked up his newest (2006) album, Curious Thing. He and Sammy and their dog drove down from Maine for the concert - although it was a fullish house still it must have cost them some bucks to drive down, and it's nice to spread some love to these traveling folkies. He did not seem to play much from the newer work, playing to the living room with more than a few long time fans looking to hear the old stuff. But I'm interested to hear what he has to say today, looking back down the road a bit. I kind of think I might like the older, wiser musician with some miles on him more than the young raffish folkie I see in those old photos.....

It was a lovely evening - good food (potluck meal beforehand), a few warming drinks, and a chance to curl up on a sofa and listen to a poet and musician, with some of my folk festival buds. A girl could do worse on a Saturday night.

2 comments:

Terrence said...

Oh. THAT Cormac McCarthy. You had this one a tad confused there for a while. In his younger days, this Cormac was a dead ringer for an old friend of mine. Mark Catalina.

Jude said...

Yeah, I was confused by the two Cormac McCarthys myself. Then again, when I was a kid in South Central PA, my catholic education did not really help me to understand that Martin Luther and Martin Luther King were two separate people either...