fourth album of original songs"> Curious Thing by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy Music Cormac McCarthy

Curious Thing.

Cormac McCarthy, Curious Thing
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"It's that curious thing in the middle
between the right and wrong.
If you want thieves at your back door,
leave your porch light on..."

Curious Thing” is a soft-spoken triumph!

– Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe


Spring Snow
Curious Thing in the Middle
The Asylum of Your Arms
Easy as Pi
Second Skin
This Beautiful Place
Great Big Day
So Many Miles
Follow Your Heart
A Little Something
While the World is Sleeping

Copyright © 2013 Cormac McCarthy. All rights reserved.
All songs published by Rakish Tilt Music.

This Beautiful Place

Bad things happen in this beautiful place
a rose goes nova blows up in your face
all you’ve worked for can disappear
love can vanish without a trace

Life is the movie, death is the screen
Love is the Photons that flick in between
so much of the time this seems so unreal
confused with what you remember from your dreams

Look at this Place
From high above
There’s no way it can work
But it almost does

Good things happen in this terrible place
I get to see your beautiful face
hear the robin and the mourning dove
put my shoes on and get back in the race

All we get are the questions here
for the poet, the trashman and the engineer,
armed with nothing but heart and mind
to stir the fire, water, earth and air

Look at this Place
From high above
There’s no way it can work
But it almost does

I went out and turned the woods into a funeral pyre
and the flames went higher and higher
I wanted to paint the wind with smoke
and set the sky on fire

We brought you into a world
where there’s great thirst and little water
and all you desire
just drifts out, farther and farther

Look at this Place
From high above
There’s no way it can work
But it almost does



We were walking by a church
with our poles in our hands.
The lights weren’t on
and nobody sang.

There are just two things
that a boy’s got to know:
what’s inside an empty church
and what’s down in a fishing hole.

Fishermen and fishers of men
lure and deceive.
They know you’ll take the bait
for what you need to believe.

Copyright © 2006, , Cormac McCarthy. All rights reserved.

Easy as Pi

I wish that love was as easy as Pi
3.14 as I spin into your eyes
Pedal to the metal round this circle I drive
I wish that love was as easy as Pi

I wish that love was as easy as sex
bend a simple friendship into the shape of a hex.
There’s nothing more confusing or complex
than love, friendship and sex

I wish that love was as easy as easy as falling in love.
I wish that love was as easy as Pi
and Pi never resolves.

Love should be as easy as burning bridges
screwing it all without making decisions
running full speed not worried ’bout collisions....

I wish that love was as easy as chess
I could know your moves by the way that you dress
I’d hold you in a place
where logic never rests....


Love should be so easy
Lightning without the thunder
We should be getting smarter but the math just gets harder

I wish that love was as easy as dyin’
no more losing, no more cryin’
no more heartache, no more trying
Hanging by a thread...then your flying

I wish that love was enough
to hold things together when times get tough
when every little thing calls your bluff
I wish that love was tough enough

I wish that love was as easy
as easy as falling in love
I wish that love was as easy as Pi
and Pi never resolves

The asylum of your arms


I know that my boss hates me.
I think it’s my lazy eye...
My brain just gets fuzzier
the harder I try.

An anvil dangles over me.
I’m waiting for the crunch.
Is there life after death?
Hell, is there life after lunch?

Too crazy for the streets,
too normal for the farm,
I can only rest
in the Asylum of your arms.

Copyright © 2006, , Cormac McCarthy. All rights reserved.

from Cormac McCarthy

Though I’ve continued to write and perform, I’d been off "the road" for awhile (before Curious Thing). The job of being a musician is not about the money or the travel. It’s where the heart, mind and soul come together in a clean, clear moment. On the road there’s sometimes too long a distance between those moments. Having lunch at a greasy spoon on the dead flat plains of the Midwest, I saw myself as a character in an Edward Hopper painting.

As you look through the window, it might look starkly romantic in an impressionistic way. If you look closely, the face in that painting is saying, "What the f-- am I doing here?"

So, it’s been a while since my last album. I had some songs I felt were worth recording. To create the perfect project I needed my longtime friends Billy Conway on drums and Kent Allyn on bass. Both musicians I have great respect for and I like them very much personally. If I could record the songs with those two boys, the rest of the project would be pure gravy. I love the sound of a tight ensemble: minimal flash, the sound of a single organism, people playing together with music as a common goal, with the song’s best interest at heart.

I found Billy at his studio, Hi-N-Diy in Cambridge. The studio was created by Mark Sandman of the band, Morphine. It is now occupied by the Twinemen, Billy’s new band and is a focal point of the very healthy Cambridge music scene. It’s a totally unorthodox place - essentially an artist’s loft in an old mill building with lots of instruments and recording equipment, paintings, sculpture, a kitchen and artistic musical effluvia. A living breathing space. And with a view of Fenway Park, it was a total comfort for my bohemian soul. I’m surprised you don’t hear the policesirens and dogs barking.

We recorded in the same room, able to see each other, not in the usual separate isolation booths that make you feel like you’ve been sent to time out in plexiglass solitary confinement. I wanted something that felt right even if the sound suffered some. As it turned out, it sounds just fine.

With the basic tracks done, Kent added some organ and piano parts and Billy suggested Duke Levine come in and add some finishing touches. I had heard Duke on other recordings and felt that he really listened to what he was playing with, an attention to detail you can’t fake or if he did fake it, it was so good it didn’t matter.

I am usually a real tight-ass when it comes to my recordings. No note goes uninspected or cymbal crash unEQ’d and compressed. Thanks to Tom Dube that part of my personality had very little to do on this project.

After rehearsing the songs, they were recorded fairly quickly. The same easy magic happened with our harmony singers: Jennifer Kimball, Dennis Brennan and Kris Delmborst. Thanks to this stellar ensemble, it was the most comfortable, satisfying and fun recording experience I’ve ever had, at a time when I really needed one. Thanks y’all.

The past few years have been a time of some losses. I’ve lost some good friends and musicians that have meant a lot to me. But it’s also been a time where I’ve found new meaning and appreciation for the great joys in my life. Having taken a deep breath and a hard look inside I feel like I’ve come out ahead. Am I back on the road? Oh yeah...and really enjoying it.

I dedicate this album to:

Tara McCarthy, Dave Van Ronk, Grieg and Tommy Westley, Terry Rayno, Jay Smith, Herb Ludwig and in honor of Johnny Cunningham. there are no fiddles on this album...thc only fiddle parts I heard were his.

Curious Thing

Our Stellar Ensemble

Cormac McCarthy: vocals, guitar and harmonica

Kent Allyn bass and keyboards
Billy Conway drums
Duke Levine electric guitars, lap steel, dobro and mandola
Back up vocals: Jennifer Kimball, Dennis Brennan, Kris Delmhorst,
Recorded at Hi-N-Dry Studios
Billy Conway
Andrew Mazzone
Tom Dube

Mixing: Tom Dube and Cormac McCarthy

Mastered: by Northeastern Digital, Southboro, MA
Toby Mountain, Engineer
Photos: by Doug Despres
Photo morph: by Davis McCarthy
Designed: by Lawrence R. Gendron,
Replication liason: Tom Daly at


"Curious Thing" is a soft-spoken triumph! Few modern writers sing so convincingly about the simple, necessary joy of lasting love. Vivid imagery puts us right beside him as he stares out his window at a sad spring snow, or ponders life’s uncertainties. McCarthy, a leading light of the urban songwriter revival, mostly writes about good lives just trying to hold on, swirling carelessly in winds they cannot control or comprehend.

Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe

Cormac McCarthy’s latest release,"Curious Thing", not only rattles the imagination with its unclassifiable nature but also soothes the soul with its pure unbridled simplicity and collar-straight delivery. McCarthy not only draws soul maps of the universe with his songs, but he’s lived enough different lives to accurately report on a myriad of subjects.

Experientially, McCarthy is leagues above his peers and he is the closest thing New England’s ever come to having our own Woody Guthrie. Also similar to Guthrie, McCarthy’s words are insightful and playful at once, with most centered squarely in love and life’s endless mysteries. It’s been a while since he’s put out a record, and "Curious Thing is not a hasty release, but instead thoughtful memoirs folded neatly into a brilliant collection of songs.

Martin England, The Portsmouth Herald

Copyright © 2013 Cormac McCarthy. All rights reserved.
All songs published by Rakish Tilt Music.