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Calamity Drenching

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Album Review

Like Dan Bern with a smaller set of pop sensibilities, Dan McCarthy pitches his speak/sing baritone against a backdrop of guitars, harmonies, barroom piano, and lo-fi percussion. Calamity Drenching shows the songwriter training his eye on the finer details of Nebraskan life, including full-day barbecues ("Roasting Song"), stormy weather ("Thunderstorm Blues"), and horse races ("Song for the Four Horsemen"). Intimacy often reigns supreme here, with songs like "Mormon Girl Blues" featuring little more than McCarthy's vocals and acoustic guitar. Nevertheless, there's a sonic and lyrical progression to Calamity Drenching that widens the palette introduced by McCarthy's 2007 debut. "Cassette Tape Massacre" deals with the tragic demise of an audiocassette while romanticizing media formats of years past, and "Scoop Shovel Blues" is an honest to God rock song, full of slapback echo and electric guitars. Perhaps there's an overabundance of blues songs on the album — a likely result of the snowy, lonely winter during which these recording sessions took place — but Calamity Drenching is still an enjoyable release, one that targets alt-country fans who like their music earthy, literate, and occasionally cunning.


Formed: Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

McCarthy Trenching is the alternative country-rock project of Dan McCarthy, an Omaha-based musician who has collaborated with fellow Nebraska outfits like Bright Eyes, Tilly and the Wall, and Azure Ray. His self-titled debut, released in 2007, featured a good deal of material from McCarthy's 2003 demo, Old Habits; the remainder was recorded between 2005 and 2006 during the so-called It's Got Nothing to Do with the Drinking sessions. The earthy record was...
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Calamity Drenching, McCarthy Trenching
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