Cormac McCarthy Music Cormac McCarthy


Please join us Live..

Friday, September 2, 9pm
Newmarket, NH

Lonesome Fest
Saturday, September 10, Noon to 10 and beyond
This will be a wonderful festival loaded with a cavalcade
of terrific musical acts, BBQ (the best) and a camping option.
Check this out:

The Hilton Garden Inn
Saturday, September 17, 8pm
Portsmouth, NH

The Canoe Club
Tuesday, September 20, 6:30pm
Hanover, NH

Chequers Villa
Friday, September 23, 6pm
Fine food a and a special room for the music
Tamworth, NH

House Concert
Saturday, September 24, 7:30pm
Bristol, NH
Call Jim for info 603-744-9936


Cormac's interview with the Boston Globe 01/02/2014: Here

Awards & Nominations

2013 Best Folk Music Award: 19th annual Spotlight on the Arts Awards

Best New Albums: Troubled Sleep, The Hartford Herald

Boston Music Awards: Nominations: Outstanding Folk/Acoustic Album: and Outstanding Folk Act

Boston Globe Ten Best Folk Concerts: Christy Moore and Cormac McCarthy at the Sanders Theater

Seacoast Music Awards: Best Songwriter

Seacoast Music Awards: Best Male Vocalist

Press photos and promotional media are provided at the base of this page.

Press Releases: Most Recent First

For Immediate Release:

Cormac McCarthy Wins “Best Folk” Music Award from 2013 Spotlight on the Arts Awards

PORTSMOUTH, NH— Songwriter Cormac McCarthy won “Best Folk” in the Music category at the 19th annual Spotlight on the Arts Awards on April 18. The Awards are given by the arts community to celebrate the best of what makes the Seacoast a vibrant place to live.

Cormac is currently releasing his fifth album, Collateral, which has been praised as “a new and timely album of singular impact and gorgeous artistry”. The Portsmouth Herald’s Martin England wrote, "Collateral" is a remarkable achievement …McCarthy doesn't look down on the characters he describes, but rather, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them, and it's his clear-eyed empathy that makes "Collateral" so believable"

The jury process used for the Spotlight Awards depends on an all-volunteer jury drawn from the visual and performing arts. Award categories include music, theatre, visual arts, and food (Best Chef), with nominations from the galleries or performance venues, the judges, and suggestions from a range of sources. The process was detailed by a Seacoast Online story after interviews with the senior judge Kim Ferreira who knows the process well after four years as head of the Spotlight Awards' Visual Art Jury.

"Commitment is imperative. Members of the all-volunteer jury (work) throughout the year, then share their experiences and converse for months. In addition, the jury requests submissions from area venues, including dedicated alternative spaces that hold regular, ongoing exhibitions"

Each award category has judges who are considered expert and experienced in those categories.

Produced by Seacoast Media Group, publisher of the Portsmouth Herald and Spotlight Magazine, the Spotlight on the Arts Awards show was held at The Music Hall in Portsmouth and gave recognition to star actors, musicians, chefs and artists for their accomplishments over the past year. Bill Humphreys directed this year's awards, which were hosted by Christine Penney and Dan Beaulieu.

This release quotes substantially and derives from stories written by Seacoast Online reports by Joey Cresta, on April 19, 2013 2:00 AM and by Jeanné McCartin April 16, 2013 2:00 AM.

For more information, contact Cormac McCarthy at

Please join us...Thursday, March 28 at 8:00 PM

Cormac McCarthy "Collateral" CD Release Concert

Club Passim
47 Palmer Street
Cambridge, MA
Thursday, March 28 at 8:00 PM

If you can't make it, we'll be live-streaming the show from Club Passim at 8 PM ET. Wherever you are in the world, you can tune in! You can purchase online tickets for $5 anytime at, and the webcast will be viewable on computers, iPhones and iPad. The show will not be recorded, but you can watch it live in HD!
Joining Cormac for this event will be Kent Allyn on bass, Sammie Haynes on vocals and Jason Crigler on guitars.
I hope you can make it. I'd really appreciate any and all of you packing the place for this show. It'd mean a lot to me. See below FMI about the CD.
Thanks and best regards,
Cormac McCarthy
207 384 3234
POB 464
South Berwick, ME 03908

Press Release--For Immediate Release:

Collateral, The New CD from Songwriter Cormac McCarthy!

Singer-songwriter Cormac McCarthy’s fifth album is a milestone in his notable career as a singer and a songwriter. Time and experience have drawn this talented artist to a new and compelling crossroad.

“Many of the songs on this album are a bit of a musical stretch for me,” says McCarthy. “R & B, ballads, gut bucket blues, German theater music, bluegrass and even a protest song.”

The result is “Collateral,” a new and timely album of singular impact and gorgeous artistry. The 10 songs on this album are not so much a departure as a logical next step in the career of an observant, impassioned artist. This time McCarthy explores that territory where people struggle to survive. Lives here are shaped by the recession and frustrated efforts to stay afloat. For many, the territory will be familiar.

McCarthy’s national fan base will recognize the signature voice, the ironic wit and insight, and McCarthy’s rousing guitar playing, but they will also discover, as they listen, new and resonant themes.

“There’s a lot of talk about the middle class,” says McCarthy, “but no one’s talking about the great difficulty of moving up into the middle class – about the working poor. Many working people are just one minor disaster away from being homeless. The songs I write are inspired by what I’m seeing and what I’m not hearing.”

Collateral, as McCarthy sees it, is that thing of value, that thing you put up in order to get something else. It begs the question, not just of material goods but of things you’re willing to do spiritually, emotionally — what you’re willing to ante up and put in the pot.”

The repercussions, the collateral damage, is where these songs live.

McCarthy’s singing and guitar playing on “Collateral” is complemented by a number of talented singers and musicians from the Seacoast and Boston area including Kent Allyn: bass; Gary Gemmiti: drums; Duke Levine: electric guitars, lap steel, dobro, mandola; Rick Watson: mandolin, percussion; Joyce Andersen: fiddle, violin; and Cecil Abels, Dennis Brennan, Sammie Haynes, Jennifer Kimball and Rick Watson on back up vocals.

New CD Release :

Cormac McCarthy

CD Pre-Release and Concert

Join us for a concert celebrating the release of Cormac McCarthy's new CD Collateral! Saturday, November 10th at 9 PM The Press Room 77 Daniel Street Portsmouth, NH

Cormac will be performing with musicians from the album and some guest artists. ~

This show predates the national release of Collateral. Special copies of the CD have been made for this show before it's available on CDBaby, iTunes, the web site or sent to international radio and press. This will be a fun show featuring songs from the new album as well as often requested songs from previous recordings - and some impromptu razzmatazz...............

Previous CD Release :

Cormac McCarthy

CD Release and Concert

7:00 PM
at The Stone Church
5 Granite Street, Newmarket, NH

Cormac McCarthy’s last CD, “Picture Gallery Blues” was called an “unassuming masterpiece” by the Boston Phoenix and word has spread that his new CD release, “Curious Thing” outshines it. Even before its scheduled release, “Curious Thing”is getting high acclaim from fellow musicians and radio personalities alike.

McCarthy is established as one of New England’s finest singer songwriters. “I rarely issue directives but, next time he comes within 100 miles you must go hear him!” (Seth Rogovoy - special to The Boston Phoenix). The Phoenix also chose his as one of the Top Ten concerts (which included Bob Dylan and Ani Defranco).

Two-time nominee for the Boston Music Awards, McCarthy tours nationally sharing his delightful humor and performing his finely crafted songs. He has what The Boston Globe calls a “devastating wit and enormous writing gifts, capable of putting chills into your spine or a silly grin on your face.” Cormac’s songs reveal some of the magic of real life in a truthful, superbly literate style, delivered with a soulful baritone and a hot guitar.

Recording at drummer Billy (from Twinemen, Morphine fame) Conway’s studio Hi-N-Dry in Cambridge, Cormac pulled in some local and national talent from the area: Billy on drums, Duke Levine on guitars, lap steel, dobro and mandola, Kent Allyn on keyboards and bass and Jennifer Kimball, Dennis Brennan and Kris Delmhorst on vocals. “A stellar ensemble” is what McCarthy calls them.

The new CD, Curious Thing is scheduled for its international release party at The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH. The concert location is a sentimental favorite: Cormac McCarthy introduced his first album there early in his career. Kent Allyn, Billy Conway, Bruce Derr and Sammie Haynes (from MAINESQUEEZE) and other members of the "stellar ensemble" are included in the inaugural concert. Curious Things is the latest CD form one of the most brilliant songwriters to rise out of the contemporary folk scene.

Press Reviews

Collateral -- New Release

About Collateral:

"OK, so you're a genius.
I'm just listening to "Collateral" for the umptyumptith time.
What an amazing piece of work beginning to end.
It was almost worth the wait since the previous album....Hey, I can't be nice all the time."DJ Dave Palmater from WUMB in Boston

"While it's fashionable to declare every artist's latest offering as their best, "Collateral" is a remarkable achievement in both its simplicity and its solemn lyrical indictment of a society on fumes. These sobering accounts are too precise to be anything but truth. McCarthy doesn't look down on the characters he describes, but rather, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them, and it's his clear-eyed empathy that makes "Collateral" so believable ....."
- M. England, The Portsmouth Herald

Already deemed his best recording yet, this is a reentry for Cormac into the roots of the music he grew up on. "Like the restless souls inhabiting Woody Guthrie's best work, McCarthy's characters struggle to find a haven in an evermore-fractured society, fighting to retain their decency in an indecent world, and to discover hope and love in the depths of their own courage. As McCarthy has, and does, live among the people populating his songs, he writes about them with an insider's intuition and understanding. In these beautifully honed lyrics, each as rich in detail and emotion as a short novel, the listener divines the celebration of the common heart of America" - Bruce Pratt, from "Collateral" liner notes

“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

Top ten Concerts ... - Bob Dylan, Ani DeFranco, Cormac McCarthy..."Next time he comes within 100 miles, you must go hear him!" – Seth Rogovoy, Boston Phoenix

" A distinctive songwriter with a warm, powerful, inherently melodic baritone, a fine guitarist and a devastating wit ... enormous writing gifts, capable of putting chills into your spine or a silly grin on your face..." – Jeff McLaughlin, The Boston Globe

"It's the crafty narrative and some of McCarthy's more thoughtful ballads that gives Troubled Sleep the emotional heft that a lot of pop-folk lacks." – The Washington Post

Cormac McCarthy "a brilliant New hampshire singer-songwriter whose songs are stories detailing wicked romances gone astray. One of the emerging stars of the New England folk scene, MCarthy is as brilliant a songwriter as he is a genial performer." – Louis Black,
The Austin Chronicle

"Picture Gallery Blues" is an unassuming masterpiece..." – The Boston Phoenix

""The writing has such depth and beauty. It's as if the songs are captions for Walker Evans' photos..." – Alex Wright, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

"A songwriter of the first order, it was clear that McCarthy loves to entertain. McCarthy's voice is a wonderfully effective instrument; deep and sure, with the measured easy phrasing of a natural storyteller." – Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe

"Without exaggerating, he is included in my list of best songwriters in America. That list also includes Bob Dylan and Paul Simon." – John Derado, Front Porch Music

"McCarthy's ..penchant for intelligent, understated songs, philosophic, first person narrations from the heads of an assortment of characters. The points of view constantly change, and the tales are told with a poetic flow and an interior logic."– Daniel Gerwertz, North Shore Magazine

"His songs know all about the heartaches, accept the presence of craziness, look decay in the eye, yet unearth a sense of the worthwhile, even discoveries of joy amongst the rubble. A fine, sensitive album capable of washing away much of the accumulated distress and restoring an appetite for glimpses of beauty and those few things which really matter and are timeless." – Tony May, Folk Roots

"If you are looking for some of the great new talent in the New England Folk and Acoustic scene, then make sure you have a copy of the new Cormac McCarthy (album). I particularly like Madness in the Family, Used Cars, The Blue Mountains , and Friend of the Family because they combine beautiful imagery with some great character depictions. ...reflects the balance of Cormac's songwriting, combining some of his heavier ballads with some of his funky electric tunes." – Dick Pleasants, Host/Producer, The Folk Heritage, WGBH Boston

"Cormac McCarthy puts his heart and soul into his music and words, and he keeps you laughing through his insights into the pain of everyday life. The laughter and joy he elicits from audiences at his performances draw huge crowds to the Press Room, Passim and other clubs around New England."– Larry Etscovitz, re:Ports Arts and Entertainment Magazine, Portsmouth, NH

"I have attended, hosted or played host to hundreds of workshops, of all kinds. This one was informative, helpful, and entertaining. Cormac incorporated enough history, groundwork, speculation, and "hands on" to make a worthwhile experience for everyone who attended. Three separate groups of people had finished and performed at least two songs within a month following the workshop. Two of those songs have been recorded! With his songwriters workshop, Cormac sets a standard few will be able to meet...can't wait to have him back!" – John Derado, Front Porch Music News

"McCarthy carves lyrical sketches of tired lives in the sleepy towns of New Hampshire and Maine. With a poet's empathy and a storyteller's eye for detail, McCarthy lets us know these people, share their lives and, above all, care about them. Accomplishing this while making fine, compelling music is songwriting of the first order."– Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe

Full Length Review

Birch Tree series concert at BCC displayed modern folk at its finest

By Seth Rogovoy

Special to the Eagle

Pittsfield – In a brilliant performance Friday night that took listeners on an emotional roller coaster from side-splitting laughter to the brink of tears and back again, Cormac McCarthy displayed the art of contemporary folk at its finest.

In order to be an effective performer, a singer-songwriter needs to have many resources. Some of the obvious ones are good songs with a voice to match, effective if not virtuosic guitar accompaniment, and a pleasant stage presence that easily connects with the audience.

It also helps if the performer knows how to play off an audience and pace a concert, is a good storyteller and fleet on his feet with an impromptu joke, has interesting things to say about his songs and can make it all seem easy to boot.

In his show at Berkshire Community College as part of the Birch Tree Concert Series, McCarthy displayed all these qualities and more. If could bottle his formula, he'd have every would-be singer-songwriter clamoring to get a lifetime supply.

Bursting with charm and good humor, the graying yet youthful and irreverent McCarthy—no relation to the author – played two sets of songs drawn mostly from "Troubled Sleep" and his latest album "Picture Gallery Blues" (both Green Linnet).

The New Hampshire native who now lives in Maine introduced one of his songs facetiously as a "cowboy Celtic funk number". While "Small House" and the similar tunes hardly conjured up images of funkmeister George Clinton, they do exist in a unique realm equidistant from classic country and Celtic folk, albeit given McCarthy's own idiosyncratic spin.

"Small House" boasts a catchy chorus with a mournful quality in the lyrics and McCarthy's soulful yearning baritone. The verses, however, are edgier, as is often the case in McCarthy's songs, with a typical one being: Woke up as happy as an Irish dog/ Wired and slightly deranged/ the perfect picture of an Irishman/Quick of wit and slow to change."

McCarthy surprised with some gorgeously resonant fingerpicking to match his throaty, resonant vocals. He told hysterically funny stories in between songs – some which connected to the tunes, others obvious stage patter he has perfected over the years. But it never sounded canned nor did it distract from what McCarthy came to do: present a selection his carefully crafted, original compositions.

"Marigold Hall" packed a novel's worth of details about the inhabitants of a small New England town into a few verses about a Saturday night dance. "Light at the Top of the Stairs" was one of a number of McCarthy's man-at-the-end-of-his-rope tunes, with the pressures of the world bearing down on him symbolized by a pile of firewood that has accidentally pinned him down in the subfreezing temperature.

"Picture Gallery Blues" was, as the title indicates, a modern take on the traditional blues form, this time one in which a walk through a museum makes the singer see things about himself he'd rather not face up to. And the "Immigrant Gangster" is McCarthy's Scorsesean salute to his "sainted Irish grandfather, " who –at least in he song—reverts to crime in order to feed his hungry children.

McCarthy peppered his show with a few novelty tunes, the best of which was a tribute to his neighbors, "When You're in Maine." Song to the tune of the Doors "People are Strange."

McCarthy demonstrated that he is a truly gifted performer and entertainer on Friday night. I don't ordinarily issue directives, but next time he comes within 100 miles you must go hear him!

(Seth Rogovoy writes regularly for the Boston Phoenix.)

Select this Hide tab to hide detail. Select Press or Press Reviews to show detail.

Photo Downloads are larger sizes than those used on the website: download from the links below or contact Cormac for additional publicity photos.

Cormac McCarthy onstage in concert.

Matthew Muise photo, used by permission

Cormac McCarthy New CD, Collateral
PDF Poster, Collateral
PDF of Poster for Curious Thing
Concert photo
Cormac McCarthy onstage Cormac McCarthy, 2013 Collateral, by Cormac McCarthy thumbnail poster thumbnail concert thumbnail

A distinctive songwriter with a warm, powerful, inherently melodic baritone, a fine guitarist and a devastating wit ... enormous writing gifts, capable of putting chills into your spine or a silly grin on your face..."
Jeff McLaughlin, The Boston Globe