These days, beyond the famous American author by that name, we have a less-known folk singer named Cormac McCarthy, who has New England roots and often sings of the working poor. The songs on his newest CD (entitled Collateral) are outstanding and make a good soundtrack for Ron Rash's Nothing Gold Can Stay.
The material is sometimes literary and poetic, “the wink of a roadkill crow,” the vocal delivery is folk-blues and solid, the musical arrangements are splendid. The lyrics are not included in the liner notes, but McCarthy’s voice is strong and clear at the right volume. You hear every word. His voice compares favorably with that of Gordon Lightfoot.
The lead piece is “Gotta Keep Movin” which conjures up some words that novelist Cormac McCarthy has written: Nothing ever stops moving. This song also has a lyric line from Satchel Paige’s six rules of life, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining.”
What’s gaining, of course, is the hound of heaven or the hound of hell--Death either way, as in Suttree.
This is reprised in what I think, first time through, is the best track on the CD, “You Can’t Outrun The Hounds,” which, with its upbeat guitar, would make a good addition to anyone’s running soundtrack.
Not that there is a bad track on this CD. As I say, the last time I listened to this man was back in the days of NAPSTER, and I wasn’t impressed then. But on this CD, the production seems highly professional, kind of a universal blue-collar sound. I plan to listen to the whole thing several times. Some of the tracks are noir, of lives lived in quiet desperation.
Gotta Keep Movin'
The Working Poor
Back When I Worked on the Railroad
On a Night Like This
You Can't outrun the Hounds
Walking on Solid Ground
Here's a good link: