Rachel McCartney

Rachel McCartney

 Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

RACHEL MCCARTNEY has toured US folk/blues venues since 1994 — gracing audiences from Boston to Atlanta. Fans of artists from Bonnie Raitt to David Gray are overcome by McCartney's distinct voice and songwriting.


RACHEL MCCARTNEY has toured U.S. blues/folk venues since 1994 — gracing audiences from Boston to Atlanta and back again.

Aside from busking in the Boston subways, McCartney's favorite stages include the Somerville Theatre, The Paradise Lounge, Toad, and historic Club Passim. At Passim, in addition to her own packed headline performances, McCartney's opened for well known artists such as Ellis Paul and Willy Porter, and has been featured in the Cutting Edge Campfire Festivals.

Before returning to her home town of Gloucester in 2001, McCartney was a local favorite at Pittsburgh venues, opening shows for Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, David Gray, Susan Werner, John Gorka and Christine Lavin. Her solo billing has repeatedly filled popular venues including The Quiet Storm and The Club Cafe and her Pennsylvania following continues to grow.

Songs from McCartney's album Eye On the Horizon (2001) are featured in Who Knew Productions' award-winning independent film The Bread, My Sweet. Her back up vocals and banjo can also be heard on Brian Webb's album entitled Broken Folk released in June 2002. Her backup vocals are also heard on Ellis Paul's record.

McCartney's soaring voice is unmistakable, and her presence strongly felt. Respected among her peers, McCartney enjoys collaborating with other accomplished artists. Some of her favorite musical influences are also her friends. You might catch her gigging with the likes of Rose Polenzani, Anne Heaton, Brian Webb, Teddy Goldstein, Edie Carey, Meg Hutchinson, and Pamela Means. Recently, she's also opened shows for Peter Mulvey and Melissa Ferrick.

Her most recent album "Interim" was released in mid-August 2002. A collection of home and live recordings on a shoe-string budget, the album has sold over 2,500 copies in CD format, and 500 in digital download format (since 2004).

McCartney is currently working on her next studio album, anticipated to be released in 2006.


Ocean Song

Written By: Rachel McCartney

i remember when i felt so sure, every step i took, came with an open door. now i miss the sand and i miss the sea, and your lovely self wrapped all over me.... and this, too, i can do without, cuz alone i came in and alone i go out. [chorus: is this my land? is this my sea? is this my ocean? is this my land? is this my sea? is this my body?] sometimes there's so much madness, so many tricks abound, and we're all clammering just to hear the sound. i've got my sights set on one thing — that's to open myself and let the vibrations ring. [chorus] and all i hear is the end. and you say, "baby, i just wanna be your friend." but i am like the biggest girl, looking for a home in a great big world. [chorus] i remember when i felt so sure, every step i took came with an open door.

God Made You Right

Written By: Rachel McCartney

know the reason i want you here is god made you right. settle up with your grief and your fear, god made you right. god made you right. it's a cruel joke, this one, yet it's the punchline that i keep forget'n. it's a serious game we play, under the hot sun, with no shade. [chorus: god made you right. god made you right. settle up with your grief and your fear, god made you right.] all the praise that you give, ain't never gonna be enough, to make me feel like i'm worthy to make me feel that i am loved. i heard a great man say, "child, how you live right now's gonna echo for eternity." [chorus]

Will I

Written By: Rachel McCartney

this love's try'n to teach me everything. it's watering them flowers that i bring. it's clearing my throat, so i can sing. will i listen? it's gonna try to fill me up with grace. it's gonna help me tidy up the place. it's gonna wipe that smirk right off my face. will i listen? [chorus: will i figure out, it's waiting to celebrate me here? will i listen now? it's screaming forgiveness in my ear. will i admit that something loves me better than i do? will i listen?] i know you're gonna do me right. so why, you ask, don't i give up the fight? let go and sleep throughout the night. will i listen? [chorus][repeat chorus]

Pour Me Down The River

Written By: Rachel McCartney

you can smile if you want to, i might give into this earthy desire, that knows how to suck me in. baby you are a battle i'll never win, but as long as you're talkin' i'll keep tryin' [chorus: you pour me down the river, and i become a wave. you show me to the mountain, i would gladly walk for days.] i know you don't trust me, far as you can throw your hands in the air. we go on and seal it, and say it's no big deal. aha! there is a mystery beyond what we feel, and it [chorus] i know it ain't right, i want you to prove your love. and you know i'm not proud, that maybe it never is enough. our little world is in chaos, but we need to rest. it would take me a lifetime, just to give you my best. [chorus]

Pretty Girl

Written By: Rachel McCartney

it's obvious looking at you, you get the girls your way. i was no exception on a perfect day. [chorus: the price of living here, i cannot afford. if i knew this ship was sinking, i would have never jumped on board.] it's not as simple as the earth, simply holds the sea. and there's a price, for what it's worth, and what you want from me. [chorus] how many times i've tried, so few have broken through, my understanding of the tide, and the way i pull on you. [chorus]

So Good

Written By: Rachel McCartney

i think of the vicious words we said, they keep repeating themselves inside my head. i think of the crazy life i have led, and all the blood i've bled. ahh the way you disapprove, makes me feel like i have nothing left to lose. and all that is second guessed, is all i give away, and all i must confess. [chorus: is it s'posed to be so cruel? is it s'posed to be so mean? is it s'posed to be so good? is it meant to be so fun? is it meant to be so hard? is it meant to be understood?] you are a mirror for my soul, reflect the pain, that brings the change about. sometimes it's so uncomfortable. should i be the one to give you so much doubt? [chorus] so i move myself in slow motion, to realize the time that it took the ocean, to calm itself from tidal waves. it took more than 40 nights, took more than 40 days. [chorus]

Time Will Tell

Written By: Rachel McCartney

how do you know what i want if i haven't told you exactly? and how do you know who i am, if you've only seen reflecting. i want to go far away. run so fast thought i could fly. but it is here i will stay, with all the sores that are mine. [chorus: with all this fear and trembling, that i don't hide so well. i cannot put a muzzle on what my time will tell.] i am made ill at ease, i will give up my need to feel okay, i realize that these doubts, come out when i am joking. [chorus]


Throwing Rocks With A Smile (1996)
In Memory of Lightning (1999)
Eye On the Horizon (2001)
Interim (2002)

"Interim" receives significant airplay on WERS Boston and is also aired on radio stations in Hartford, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Madison, Chicago and Albany. Outside of this region, the album also airs on independent radio stations in Hawaii, Brazil, UK, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands.

"Eye On the Horizon" has three tracks that are in a newly released independent film "The Bread My Sweet." Rachel also makes a cameo appearance as a street musician in the film.

Set List

Average set length is 45-90 minutes.

Sample Set List:
- Ocean Song
- Will I
- All The Joy
- Make You Mine
- Hole
- If You're Willing
- Pour Me Down The River
- God Made You Right

McCartney does very few covers, and performs them rarely for special occasions:
- "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan
- "Baby I Love You" by Aretha Franklin
- "Blood Brothers" by Bruce Springstein
- "Fell" by Rose Polenzani
- "Spit On A Stranger" by Pavement
- "Home" by Sheryl Crow