Cass McCombs
photo by Rachael Pony Cassells

Cass McCombs released the rarities comp A Folk Set Apart: Rarities, B-Sides & Space Junk, Etc last month, and he's got new material on the way that he'll preview some of at his upcoming Bowery Ballroom (1/7) show in NYC. He talked to Relix about it:

You are currently working on a new studio album. Would you say that project continues the jammy, Grateful Dead feel of your recent work?

I would say it is a continuation of that groovy shit. The songs maintain that Dead influence. What I love about the Dead--you see it on their early posters. They were "Grateful Dead Dance Concert." That's built in into what they're trying to do. Even on the slowest tunes, like "Stella Blue" or whatever, people are still dancing. You know, you take your shoes off, and you fucking get your rocks off. Whether it's slow or fast, you can dance to it, find the groove. That's what I learned.

He also said he's been recording in New York and LA with past collaborator and Dead Family associate Joe Russo, longtime band members Jon Shaw and Dan Lead, and producer Rob Schnapf (Kurt Vile, Beck, Elliott Smith). He says he'll "definitely be trying out some of the new songs" at the Bowery show, and regarding the live lineup it's Cass, Jon, Dan, and...

Jesse Lee has been playing drums with us now here in New York. Ryan Sawyer, another drummer and percussionist--I don't even know how to describe his role--will be with us. We're trying to get some people to play with us onstage. Soldiers of Fortune, who are old buds, are opening for us in New York, and I am hoping Matt Sweeney and Mike Bones and all of those dudes will sit in. It's going to be cold outside--at least I hope so given the weather recently--and I hope people can come warm each other up. That's the idea--this wintertime orgy.

Tickets for the wintertime orgy are still available, and we're also giving away a pair. Enter to win, below.

Right before the Bowery show, Cass also plays the Bernie Sanders benefit happening Wednesday (1/5) and Thursday (1/6) at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn with Jana Hunter, Okkervil River, Will Sheff, Gang Gang Dance, Kevin Devine, Frankie Cosmos and many more. Daily lineups will be announced day-of. Tickets are still available.

That Relix interview also talks about Cass' love of Phish and his collaboration with Phish's Mike Gordon on "Texas" (which appears on that new rarities comp). Phish just played four MSG shows and their 1995 live album A Live One is one of the albums getting a 33 1/3 book this spring. Author Walter Holland will discuss it in NYC on Saturday (1/9) at City Winery. Tickets are available. The Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead is getting a 33 1/3 this spring too, as is Blondie, Geto Boys, Sleater-Kinney, and New Kids on the Block.

The Relix interview also mentions that Cass McCombs and Joe Russo are contributing their cover of "Dark Star," which they played at Max Fish in 2015, to The National's Grateful Dead tribute album. Check out a clip of that song from the Max Fish show, below.

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