Cass McCombs' new anthology, A Folk Set Apart, is subtitled "Rarities, B-Sides & Space
Junk, Etc." which is, on the surface, true but it's so much more than that. It's an alternate
retelling of the last decade and a half of an enigmatic career built on immaculate
songwriting but short on "breakthrough success." While it contains none of McCombs'
better known songs from his seven full-lengths, he would have you believe this is his favorite
The compilation starts off with the very first song to be released by McCombs, "I Cannot
Lie" and, as is the case with many of McCombs gems, is told in the first person. Often, the
temptation is to assume the autobiographical with McCombs and long-time fans surely have
formed some mental picture of the elusive musician, but to do so would be to proceed at
your own risk. McCombs knows his mythology is littered with misdirects, rumors and half
truths and quite frankly none of our business.
And McCombs is right, actually. In spite of its compilation status, nineteen tracks in all . This very well
may be the most compelling album he's released, not because the original albums are
lacking in their own charms, but there is something fascinating in the sprawl: chugging lo-fi,
downtrodden gems, rambling rave-ups, political anthems, lysergic outtakes, wistful laments
and an appropriate bookend on our own decade-long professional relationship with one of
the greatest songwriters of the 21st Century. Fare thee well, Cass.
1. I Cannot Lie
5. Minimum Wage
6. Poet's Day (Alt Version)
7. An Other
8. Bradley Manning
9. Evangeline (Alt Version)
10. Empty Promises
11. If You Loved Me Before . . .
12. Three Men Sitting On A Hollow Log
13. Lost River/Old River
14. Old As Angry
16. Night Of The World
17. Traffic Of Souls
18. Catacombs Cow Cow Boogie
19. The State Will Take Care Of Me