The second of four videos from Cass McCombs that will be appearing in the first month of 2014 arrives today and this one’s something special. Featuring a tour-de-force vocal performance by the late Karen Black, “Brighter!” is one of the highlights of McCombs’s latest album, Big Wheel And Others, and the video directed by the iconic actress and singer’s surviving husband, director Stephen Eckelberry, is a moving tribute to her unique legacy. Eckelberry explains:
“Cass McCombs emailed me in late November 2013 and asked if I would create a music video for ‘Brighter!’ – the song he recorded with Karen in December 2012 – using classic clips from her movies. It struck me as an opportunity to explore a theme that interests me – the relationship of film and memory. We watch a movie and the images from that movie become part of our memory stream.
My own memories of Karen are intertwined with memories of her in films – it gets messier for me since I directed several movies she was in – which memory is stronger; Karen during the making the film or what ended up on screen? An image came to me: Cass himself becoming a screen for the projection of images of Karen – as if his memories of her were playing themselves out over his body.
I found a clip I had shot with my iPhone when Cass was over at our house rehearsing the song with Karen, and I combined that with clips of her movies, some iconic, some more obscure, and I weaved in footage of fire, sparks, burning . . . The song does seem to deal with hell, or is it the hell of fame?”
Black, who passed away on August 8th, 2013 after battling ampullary cancer, had a long and storied career filled with accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Five Easy Pieces and a Grammy nomination for her contributions to the soundtrack for the Robert Altman-directed Nashville. “Brighter!” was the second collaboration between McCombs and Black, the first being her hauntingly memorable contributions to “Dreams-Come-True-Girl,” a standout track on McCombs’s 2009 album, Catacombs.
Big Wheel and Others, McCombs’s seventh album, is a marauding marvel of great beauty, insight, humor and mystery that truly sees McCombs at the peak of his mercurial powers – his restless muse making stops at all the strangest, most singular roadsides of rock and roll, blues, jazz, country and more on its nomadic quest for human truth and understanding. In equal parts bucolically gorgeous and thrillingly roughshod, mischievously obtuse and devastatingly direct, painfully personal and cosmically universal, Big Wheel is the perfect distillation of over a decade’s worth of creation and chaos in the life of a true pillar of the American underground.
Watch “Brighter!” featuring Karen Black Video
Directed, shot and edited by Stephen Eckelberry
Additional camera: Daniel Kremer
Filmed at The Development NYC
special thanks Jennifer Elster
A Good & Plenty Production
“Big Wheel” video – http://youtu.be/m_jA8-Gf1M0
“There Can Be Only One” stream – http://snd.sc/19zCvlp
“Brighter! feat. Karen Black” stream – http://snd.sc/16ET3rX
Cass McCombs and his band are currently on tour, wrapping up a successful UK and Ireland tonight with a headline show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The remaining dates take them across Europe to Australia and are available below.
Cass McCombs’ Tour dates:
Jan. 13 – London, UK @ Queen Elizabeth Hall
Jan. 16 – Lisbon, PT @ Teatro Maria Matos
Jan. 17 – Aveiro City, PT @ Teatro Aveirense
Jan. 18 – VN Famalicao, PT @ Casa de Artes
Jan. 19 – Santiago, ES @ Salon Teatro de Santiago
Jan. 20 – Madrid, ES @ El Sol
Jan. 21 – Cadiz, ES @ Edificio
Jan. 23 – Barcelona, ES @ La Sala (2) Apolo
Jan. 24 – Bordeaux, FR @ Bordeaux Rocks
Jan. 25 – Rouen, FR @ Le 106
Jan. 26 – Paris, FR @ MoFo Festival @ Mains D’Ouevres
Jan. 30 – Melbourne, AU @ Northcote Social Club
Jan. 31 – Brisbane RNA, AU @ Laneway
Feb. 1 – Melbourne, AU @ Laneway
Feb. 2 – Sydney, AU @ Laneway
Feb. 6 – Sydney, AU @ Oxford Art Factory
Feb. 7 – Adelaide, AU @ Laneway
Feb. 8 – Fremantle, AU @ Laneway
Feb. 17-20 – Southwold, Suffolk, UK @ Latitude Festival
Cass McCombs online: