Release Date: Feb 12, 2016
Record label: Spiritual Pajamas
Californian songwriter Cass McCombs seems to like — and excel when — playing in bands, where the collaborative groove and zeal are every bit as important as his singular gift for song. That communal energy is presently being pumped into the Skiffle Players, McCombs' new psychedelic alt-country group with Neal Casal, Dan Horne and "Farmer" Dave Scher and Aaron Sperske (both members of Beachwood Sparks), which came about spontaneously when McCombs was booked to play a festival and needed a band. The group call what they're doing Skifflin' and indeed, their music pays tribute to the American Songbook, both light-heartedly (the record is intentionally littered with sonic "flotsam," including stoned-sounding studio banter concerning the Beatles and Beetlejuice) and, when appropriate, with emotional depth — their haunting and beautiful performance of murder ballad "Omie Wise" is particularly timeless (and timely).
In September 2013, at the excellently named Mollusk Big Sur Jamboree, folk songwriter Cass McCombs played a one-off show with a ragtag outfit assembled from jam-rockers Circles Around the Sun and faded alt-country group Beachwood Sparks. Dubbed the McCombs Skiffle Players, the band playfully alloyed backwoods folk, lap-steel-infused country, and elaborate West Coast jams. The songs sprawled, the band clicked, and more shows followed, at some length.
Travel, or not staying rooted for too long, has long been a mission statement for Cass McCombs. With The Skiffle Players – consisting of new and old friends from The Cardinals, Beachwood Sparks and more – the singer manages to evade the pressure of following up his astounding 2013 “LP and a half” Big Wheel. Just. Moving plays a large part in both lyrical and musical content – aside from the fact McCombs is cleverly turning the spotlight on a group.