McCarthy
Trenching

buffalo

NEWS

test cuts

The good people at Gotta Groove Records sent me some test cuts (the step before test pressings) over the weekend, and they sound great! Makes me excited to hear these songs on vinyl finally.

I hope you feel the same. The record comes out November 3.

posted August 3, 2015


SHOWS

Friday, Sept. 18, 9:30 p.m.

Playing with our beard heroes, Bonehart Flannigan and Brad Hoshaw.

See more info.


MUSIC

More Like It

released Nov. 3, 2015

1. Head Waters
2. Fifty Times a Day
3. Laguna Beach
4. Ogallala Aquifer
5. Mean Thing on My Mind
6. No, I'm Sure You're Right
7. Keep the Devil Away
 8. Air Force One
9. Christmas 1974
10. Steadfast Friendship

More Like It album cover

Plays the Piano

released Oct. 2012

1. 2:47, July 18, 2011
2. The Favorite
3. Ponderosa Village
4. 29
5. Swipesy
6. Evil/Free Will
7. The Ballad of Dorothy Lynch
8. Solace

Plays the Piano album cover

lyrics & credits

DOWNLOAD

Fresh Blood

released Oct. 2011

1. The Barroom and I (Sure Miss You)
2. Hard Heart
3. You Can Count on Me
4. Oh Nancy
5. Picking at Scabs
6. Theoretical Love Song (with Gus & Call)
7. Wants

Fresh Blood album cover

lyrics & credits

DOWNLOAD

Plays the Piano

credits:

Dan McCarthy: piano and singing
James Maakestad: upright bass and singing
Recorded at home by Ben Brodin on April 14, 2012.
Mixed by Ben at ARC Studios in Omaha, Nebr.
All analog.


"2:47, July 18, 2011"

I woke up Sunday morning, didn’t smell too good.
Smelled no better Monday, don’t know why I would.
I didn’t take a shower, but I did a little work.
I work for myself, and my boss is a jerk.
I work for myself, and my boss is a jerk.

I don’t mind Monday, it’s the same as every day
Except the newspaper’s skinny, and I get a little more mail.
But it isn’t the bad news that’s been losing weight,
And since your letters quit, it’s all bills to be paid.
Since you quit writing to me, it’s only bills to be paid.

The dishes in the sink ain’t gonna do themselves.
If wishes were washers, I’d have dishwashing wealth.
The only thing that happens on its own is getting old.
I do my own cooking, and the food’s always cold.
I do my own cooking, and the food’s always cold.

I told you two o’clock, I wish I would’ve said one.
I’m at the piano, waiting for you to come.
The last time you were on time, time stepped on its own toe.
Now I hear your knuckles knocking at my door.
Now I hear your knuckles knocking at my door.


"Ponderosa Village"

It was a good thing we had the coal plant
When the river flooded Fort Calhoun.
Who knew you could drown a nuclear reactor?
But the traffic from the swing shift
And the power company’s tree­trimming crews
Makes it hard to pull out of Ponderosa Village.

It reminded you of Bonanza.
It was what we could afford.
It’d be handy to pick your mom up from the airport.
But like most TV cowboys,
I never learned to ride a horse.
Makes it hard to get out of Ponderosa Village.

To call it a trailer is such a misnomer:
You can’t hitch it up, and it ain’t going nowhere.

There’s a shared tornado shelter
Where we gather when the sirens ring.
That last time it felt like New Year’s, with the women screaming.
But a couple of power lines
And a couple of namesake pines
Were all it brought down on Ponderosa Village.


"29"

Come on, it’s New Year’s Day:
Why don’t we listen to Hank
And find a new game to play with dominoes?
Old Hank died 59 years ago.
“Why Should We Try Anymore?”
Because the best thing we do —
I guess I don’t know about you —
But the best thing I do is to sing a song.
It’s the right thing to do, even when you do it wrong.

What did you do last night,
Did you set the woods on fire?
Neither did I, I was in bed by twelve.
I rang it in like the Liberty Bell:
Just wishing I’d never cracked.
Maybe this’ll be the year you finally grow a beard.
Maybe I’ll grow tall and handsome.
I’m afraid I’d have to pray for a miracle, and then some.

For now, it’s New Year’s Day
And we’re listening to Hank.
What the hell, we might as well play cribbage.
Is this for glory, or is it just a scrimmage?
I’ll be damned, how’d you get that score?
You got 15 - ­2 - ­4 - ­6 - ­8 - ­10 - ­12 - ­14 - ­16
And another dozen for four of a kind.
Cousin, nobs gives you 29:
Hank’s age when he died.


"Evil/Free Will"

I don’t want you to think
That you gotta keep me happy.
I don’t want you to think
That you gotta make me smile.
I don’t want you to think
That you gotta keep me happy.
You’ve got better things to do with your time.

Like for one thing, I think
You oughta keep being pretty.
For one thing, I think
You oughta keep looking fine.
For one thing, I think
You oughta keep being pretty.
It really takes a load off my mind.

My happiness is a side effect:
You are serious medicine.
My happiness is a side effect:
You are a powerful drug.
My happiness is a side effect:
Like evil is to free will.
My happiness is a side effect of you.


"The Ballad of Dorothy Lynch"

Dorothy seems sweet, but there’s nothing natural about her.
She’s pretty in pink, but her color comes from a can.
She’s from Central Nebraska, but she flirts with a Southern accent.
Dorothy, how you ever gonna keep an honest man?

She put every scratch and ding in her daddy’s old Honda,
But her new cowboy boots got scuffed up in a sweatshop in Uganda.
The gold in her hair, I am told, comes out of a bottle.
So, I’m afraid, does her deep bronze, spray-on tan.

It doesn’t have to be gospel, it’s just how you feel.
You don’t have to be genuine for your love to be real.

The man she called John had never gone as far as Vermont,
But he was real sweet; he and Dorothy had a lot in common.
He’d been to Normal and Norman, but he kept on coming back
To the town where his buddies at the bar called him Hungry Jack.

His old car from high school, his ball glove, and other things he’d lost.
But the one thing he missed the most was Dorothy’s bubble gum lip gloss.
There’s no need for a young man to sit and watch cable alone.
When Dorothy came over, she joked, “There’s no taste like home.”

It doesn’t have to be gospel, it’s just how you feel.
You don’t have to be genuine for your love to be real.
It’s not Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; it’s just how you feel.
You don’t have to be genuine for your love to be real.


Fresh Blood

credits:

Dan McCarthy: piano, guitar, banjo, singing
James Maakestad: upright bass, guitar, singing
Ben Brodin: drums, pump organ
Bram Rosenfeld: mandolin

Recorded March 5 & 6, 2011 by Ben Brodin
at ARC Studios in Omaha Nebr.

except Bram’s mandolin, recorded by Stephen Bartolomei
at The Itch in New York City

and “Theoretical Love Song,” recorded February 26, 2011
by A.J. Mogis at ARC.

Gus & Call is James Maakestad, Aaron Markley, Daniel Ocanto,
Matt Owens and Mike Schlesinger.

Mixed by Ben Brodin at ARC.
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering in Omaha Nebr.


"The Barroom and I (Sure Miss You)

You were smoking a cigarette
When you figured out you were pregnant.
So I drove you to my house
So that you could lie down.
That smoky old barroom,
It sure does miss you,
But not half as bad as I do
Since you moved out of town.

The barroom and I sure miss you.
The beer’s not as cold.
They won’t let you smoke.
Every joke is old.
All the whiskey tastes sour.
It’s a cheese-paring pour.
There are no smiling faces
When I walk through the door.

That baby is walking now,
And there’s another on the way,
Their daddy standing there handsome
On your wedding day.
You moved to California –
That’s where you’ve always belonged.
The kids can swim in the ocean,
And you can sit in the sun.

The bartender thinks I’m a creep.
Most of the time I agree.
Though I’ve tried to convince him,
He will not believe
That your leaving had nothing
To do with me.


"Hard Heart"

An attic apartment with a wooden staircase fire escape –
Now that he’s moving, he’s glad that everything heavy stays.
He’s leaving the woman with the expensive suitcase,
The one she asked for last Valentine’s Day.
You could tell she was the type who’d never settle for a card.
You’d have to have a hard heart not to feel sorry for her now.

He’s taking the vacuum. He’s taking the broom.
She never expected to have to clean those rooms.
He’s got a couple of milk crates of old LPs.
Judging from his records, he’s too much like me.
She’s letting him get away with 6- and 12-string guitar.
You’d have to have a hard heart not to feel sorry for her now.

She’s staying with her sister for a couple of days.
They agreed that it’d be easier if she just stayed away.
I never trifled with them, and they never bothered me –
That’s the best way of being neighborly.
Though she did call the police in the middle of my best party.
Still, you’d have to have a hard heart not to feel sorry for her now.

They shared a car, and they got a little dog.
You can’t ask the figures where the arithmetic went wrong.
Maybe it was her job that made her so unhappy lately.
Maybe the puppy was practice for a baby.
Never did I once see him take it out in the yard.
You’d have to have a hard heart not to feel sorry for her now.


"You Can Count on Me"

You can’t always count on sober and serene,
But you can count on me.

I’d give up reading and writing, quit doing math even,
Before I’d stop being your friend.

You can’t always count on clever and cheery,
But you can count on me.

If blood is thicker than water, then what we got is oil
Within this mortal coil.

You can’t always count on consistency,
But you can count on me.


"Oh Nancy"

Oh Nancy, I’m sorry, we’re doing things you despise:
Pinball and poolhalls and getting drowsy while we drive.
I’ve got a few thick books with me, but they haven’t come in handy yet
Unless like that old Russian, you’re rolling your own cigarettes.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know where I am:
On the road in a 15-passenger van.

Oh Nancy, I’m sorry, we’re doing things you abhor:
Whiskey when you want it, and beer when you’re bored.
I could make the excuse that it makes my brain numb,
But the beer ain’t doing nothin’ the road ain’t already done.

Oh Nancy, I’m sorry, we’re doing everything you hate:
Staying up till hours that ain’t even late.
Smoky motel rooms with two men to a bed –
Don’t tell me about the folly of being comforted.

We kill time and make time, and spend time and save time,
Waste time and pass time and keep time in stop time.

Oh Nancy, I’m sorry, I’m doing things you don’t like:
Spending all my money any given Monday night.
I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve been hanging around bars
Where the girls aren’t too pretty, but they leave their clothes in the car.

I know what I’m doing, I’m becoming an old man
On the road in a 15-passenger van.


"Picking at Scabs"

When I heard your voice on the phone,
I was more than a little surprised.
It’d been a long night of collapsing-building dreams,
And I’d barely opened my eyes.

The questions you were asking me
Reminded me of when we were together:
How much are you drinking, and how’s your family?
At least you didn’t ask about the weather.

My mom, she’s been doing well.
Dad’s been getting dizzy.
I’m not drinking as much, but not not at all.
Such tail-chasing has been keeping me busy.

That and picking at scabs to see fresh blood.
It’s all right, we can laugh about this stuff.

We laughed about the first time we were in bed
And I was such a mess.
You knew I wasn’t that drunk,
So you asked me if I was religious.

It was a decent question, I guess,
Though it made me even more nervous.
Like you’d invited the Almighty himself
To testify to our congress.

In the morning you only had that dress
That you’d worn for the games out on the lawn.
I’d say we were both ready to run
Once you put your blue tennis shoes on.

Picking at scabs to see fresh blood.
It’s all right, you can laugh, but I’ll call your bluff.

That time we drove out to the country
‘Cause my folks were draining the pond,
And we thought we’d catch a couple catfish
Before they faced their Armageddon.

You held the pole and I rowed the boat,
And when I brought us back to the bank,
My dad showed us how his grandma cleaned ‘em
By nailing their heads to a plank.

We were gonna be living high:
Fresh catfish and cottage fries.
But we both knew from the first bite,
Those fish’s Kool-Aid was laced with cyanide.

So putrid it was hard to describe.
There wasn’t enough beer in the house
To make it seem like a good time,
Or to wash the bitter taste out of our mouths.

So we went around the corner to the grocery store
To pick up some more beer and fried chicken.
While I was over grabbing a six-pack,
You were at the counter being propositioned.

In overalls and a motorized cart,
He didn’t look like he could do too much harm,
But whatever he said about sexing chickens
Made you never want to go back to the farm.

Picking at scabs to see fresh blood.
It’s all right, you can laugh. That’s about enough.

When I heard your voice on the phone,
I was more than a little surprised.
It’d been a long night of disastrous dreams,
And I’d barely opened my eyes.

I probably wouldn’t’ve picked up the phone,
But I was waiting on a call from a plumber.
You still had our old area code.
I didn’t recognize your number.


"Theoretical Love Song (with Gus & Call)"

The end of your life, it don’t mean nothing to our love.
Neither does the end of mine.
If the world should end in 2012,
We still have plenty of time.

Time is just a construct.
It’s relative to the speed of light.
Even Einstein’s theories only apply
To the universe where we find ourselves tonight.

We will weather the nuclear winter.
We will welcome the second coming of Christ.
When the sun’s fuel is spent and it becomes a red giant,
The love between us will survive.

So what if this is all an illusion,
And the universe is only one
Of an infinite number of universes?
I’m gonna love you in every single one (+1).

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