The McCarthys
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The McCarthys


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"The Night Is Young"

Go Magazine
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The Night is Young
by Aimsel L. Ponti
The McCarthys are celebrating the completion and release of their latest record "...And Then Some ." Join in the festivities at the Big Easy on Saturday night.

"And Then Some" is their first record in nearly five years and the follow-up to the self-titled one from 2000. The lineup is guitarist, bassist and vocalist Tim Emery, Dale Holden on guitar, pedal steel, banjo and vocals, John Davison on drums and vocals and Jimmy McGirr on guitar, bass and vocals. All of these guys write songs as well. Therefore, it's like having four bands rolled into one.

Besides being in the McCarthys, some of these guys are involved with the bands Cattle Call, Diesel Doug and the Long Haul Truckers, the Orbits, and the Saccarappa Boys.

The focus at the moment is on the McCarthys and with good reason. The record is part county rock and parts root rock. There's even an island sound on the track "Wide Open Blue" that will make you thirst for a margarita. "When You Come Back" will have you shaking in your cowboy boots. All of it is good-time beer-drinking fare and after three listens I'm totally down with it.

The McCarthys with Guv'Nors (a Beatles/British invasion tribute), Saturday, the Big Easy. - Portland Press Herald

"Nashville North"

Nashville north
The McCarthys feature country pop ...And Then Some

Getting things out of the way for the sake of getting things out of the way: The McCarthys have no use for an apostrophe. (Nor are they related, for that matter.) "The McCarthy’s" makes no sense whatsoever. Do we make things plural with an apostrophe? No, we don’t.

There. I feel better now.

What the McCarthys do have some use for are twangy guitars, morbid humor, pop country, and the ’80s. Pretty much in that order. That makes sense coming from a group of guys who once thrilled local barflies as the top-40 country cover band Streamliner.

It’s been five years now since the McCarthys unleashed their self-titled debut disc of originals, despite rumors as long as two years ago that they were readying a follow-up. Same old story: Guys with real lives and families who don’t have time right now to lay in that last vocal track or listen to that most-recent mastering. But things seem to turn out pretty nicely when you’re not in much of a hurry, and this second effort, ...And Then Some, is evidence of that old axiom that patience is a virtue.

The McCarthys’ name is particularly apt because they really do seem like a band of brothers, no single member dominating either the songwriting or the performance. Of 12 songs on the disc, the four principals — drummer John Davison, and bassist/guitarists Jimmy McGirr, Dale Holden, and Tim Emery — each pen or co-pen at least three songs, mostly singing the lead on their own songs and helping out otherwise with guitar fills and plenty of backing vocals.

These guys are pretty old school, and by that I mean an affinity for Hank Williams and the Beatles filtered through a professional musical coming of age in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The album’s opener, Davison’s "Jamie Doesn’t Live Here" (which, till I looked at the liner notes, I thought might be an update of their debut album’s killer "Jane"), is a case in point. The country feel comes from the acoustic guitar paired with the rootsy electric and Davison’s vocals (you’ll just have to get over any "singing drummer" hang-ups you might have), whereby he delivers from the back of the throat and emphasizes the vowel sounds in each drawn-out word.

The ’80s sentiment comes through in the guitar break that bridges the final chorus to the outro. Emery’s high up on his 12-string, with a bit of reverb, picking out single strings and then he throws in a great new-wave "I Think I’m Turning Japanese" Vapors riff like he didn’t even know he was going to do it. Pair that with McGirr’s "Men at Work" bass walk that provides the song’s foundation and you’ve got yourself ’80s pop all dressed up in cowboy boots and a silver belt buckle.

The album then runs through a Beatles trucker tune from Holden; the high-voiced "Be My Lawyer" from McGirr that graced Greetings from Area Code 207, Vol. 4; and Emery’s Cracker-country "Spongebath." The last is an example of the corny humor that can run through this disc, featuring lyrics like "I’d rather give my gramma a hot sponge bath, a hot sponge bath, a hot sponge bath/ I’d rather give my gramma a hot sponge bath then spend another minute with you." I’m not a big fan of humor in my music, but that’s mostly a taste thing. The song itself is measured rock and roll, with a relaxed lead guitar from Emery.

They go from corny to downright scary on "Wide Open Blue," a Don Ho-esque Hawaiian number that’ll creep you right out if you listen closely enough. It’s all in the second person and says of a island hideaway experience that "You hated being here alone with me/ You never trusted me or what I might do/ It was hell here on this wide open blue." So, of course, he kills her, and then "these weights tied around my hands and feet/ will make sure that my work here is complete." Nothing like a little murder/suicide to slow dance to, right?

Davison takes death a little more seriously on "Cady," a soulful number where "They pulled Leon from the white girl’s bed/ Dragged him through the corn till there was nothing left/ Tied him like a scarecrow hanging by a thread/ Cady had to cut him down." Here Davison cements himself as the most engaging vocalist of the group. The acoustic backing for the bridge has some clean fingerpicking, like early Rod Stewart, then gets more contemplative like a Bruce Hornsby tune.

There is one truly great song on this disc, too, and that’s Davison’s "Jackie O," where the McCarthys show just how pop a banjo can be. It’s a melancholy and low-end entry into a tale about how "some old girl from the suburbs of South Hampton/ Married Jack and just kept dancin’ on and on/ We watched the news to see you smiling with the Khrushchevs/ Standing on the front steps with Charles de Gaulle/ For one brief shining moment the whole world was in your hands/ Till some commie with a gun took aim at all you done and you were holding out a bible for LBJ."

The chorus is a quickly memorable singalong: "And now I’m sorry Jackie O/ Sorry about the way it had to go/ Sorry about Patrick, Sorry about Dallas, Sorry about Marilyn Monroe/ When they held that great big auction just to sell off all your clothes, I was sorry about the whole thing Jackie O."

It’s possible the band would have a more singular identity were Davison to sing lead all the time, or were they to bow to Emery’s bluesy lead guitar for an entire album, but this disc never feels fractured and it’s clear that this work is as much for the band as it is for potential fans. Both should come away satisfied. - Portland Phoenix

"The McCarthys"

Mile of Music says...
The McCarthys
On their self-titled release, the McCarthys reveal a sound full of good-natured playing and sweet harmonies, that hearkens back to the days of '70s country rock. They shine the brightest here on their stand-out cut, the rocking Civil War saga "Quaker Gun."
- Miles of Music

"The McCarthys"

Village Records says...
The McCarthys

This little four piece band really cooks. It’s a great hybrid of alt-country and 70s country rock , and some Bakersfield
combined. It’s a set of nine original tunes that jump right out of the speakers. No frills or fancy footwork here, just
honest to goodness fresh tunes that make you wanna hear more.
- Village Records

"The McCarthys"

Freight Train Boogie says...

The McCarthys... (Side By Each)

This four-piece roots band from the state of Maine have a nice, basic Country Rock sound. Hot guitar, steel, some Honky-Tonk,
a couple of truck driving songs (truck drivers in Maine?!), and a Surf instrumental. It all holds together and at a pleasantly
short 35 minutes. Some of their music reminds me of New Riders of the Purple Sage... if you remember them. Worth keepin'
an eye out for. - Freight Train Boogie

"McCarthyite Tactics"

Casco Bay Weekly
March 30,2000 Vol.XII No.13
Short Cuts
by Dan Short
McCarthyite Tactics
The Steve Mclean Ensemble and the McCartys share the same bassist, Jim McGirr, but that's all they have in common. the McCarthys are a country-rock group based in Falmouth who've just released their self-titled debut CD.(No one in the group is actually named McCarthy). All four members contributed songs and vocals which makes for a fairly diverse collection. Tunes range over topics such as the death penalty to father-son relationships to(of course) love gone bad, in styles ranging from honky-tonk to Bakersfield-styled country to 70's dashioned country rock. All of it is well done, with the songs "Quaker Gun", ""Dont Come Crying Back to Me" and "Someday You'll Understand" real standouts. The McCarthys are strongly recommended for any fan of root rock.
- Casco Bay Weekly

"Local Record Roundup"

FACE Magazine
March 15-28, 2000
Local Record Roundup
Spring 2000 Part I
by Bennie Green
The McCarthys (CD)
c/o 71 Winn Rd
Falmouth, ME 04105
Guitarists Dale Holden and Tim Emery, bassist Jim NcGirr and drummer John Davison have played around Portland almost three quarters of a century between them. That experience shows on their debut CD, The McCarthys . In fact, these boys probably should have gotten together a long time ago. As engineered and produced by Joe Brien, this is an early contender for Record of the Year.
This opens with "Quaker Gun" a Davison/Emery story/song aboiut a confederate soldier on the brink of desertion. Musically this blends old style Southern rock with the BoDeans/Subdudes sound. In other words, Mainers gonna love this. Of course they'll be equally partial to a country-ish road song like "Stand Down" And though it sounds incongruous, "Oceans Eleven", Emery's ode to surf guitar fits in with the rest of these just perfectly.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise on The McCarthys is Jim McGirr's three straight country songs, all of which date back to 1972. "The Guy That Slaps the Horse" is a twisted view of wild west hangings."Hymn to a Barmaid" wears its heart on its sleeve without being sentimental or weepy, perhaps a country music first. Then "Truck Driver" picks up that driving rhythm with a decidely 70's bent.
There's so much that's good about The McCarthys that its tempting to just shove it in the box for anyone who will listen. But beyond these excellent songs are the vocals from all four members and the Emery/Holden guitars which are not only well played but recorded in a way that only someone with Joe Briens ear for strings could achieve. Yeah, this is the shit and then some.
- Face Magazine

"The McCarthys ride back into town"

The McCarthys ride back into town
It is what it should be
By SAM PFEIFLE | November 16, 2011

If you put the "Welcome to Maine" sign on the front of your disc, you better have some damn good songs on that thing. Luckily, that's never been a problem for the McCarthys. Built with some of the longest-playing vets on the local roots scene, this is a band who write songs you still listen to 10 years later ("Jane," from 2000's self-titled debut) and wait until songs are right before releasing them. They were playing long before we called this kind of thing alt-country, but it's mostly bluesy and pop rock this time around anyway.
Hence, the new The Way Life Is is the kind of album with tunes that are rooted in genre, seem easy even, but that are consistently catchier and more interesting than they have any right to be. Part of that is simply John Davison, drummer and principal songwriter and vocalist, who's well established for penning singalongs with serious heart. "Love Is," the pop-rock-with-twang opener, wins both for lines like "love is John/Love is Yoko" and for Davison's impassioned croon. His "Blue Confessions" is probably the best track here, a dark ballad that goes past six minutes but never drags, and should be syrupy but is so well done it breaks your heart the way it's supposed to. Similarly, "Built for Comfort" is exactly the kind of Thorogood-like blues rock that's not to my taste, but the way Jonathan Wyman has captured the pair of growling guitars in opposing channels in the open charmed the pants right off me.

What's cool is that the McCarthys spread the songwriting and performance wealth so well that there are all kinds of different takes and vibes, for any taste, coalesced around this living-in-Maine exploration. Dale Holden rips a banjo through a bluegrassy "Ghost Train," echoed by Tim Emery's jangly electric guitar, and then they combine for an explosive "Take a Ride with the Devil," with snarling guitars and driven by Jimmy McGirr's punchy bass. The bridge here is killer, diving Dixieland all of a sudden with dancing piano from Scott Shuster (the newest McCarthy) and a sea of handclaps.

Emery and McGirr take on lead-vocal duties, too, on the over-the-top Jerry Lee Lewis kind of rocker "Gonna Die Twice" and the old-time Texas drinking song "I Just Pour 'Em Down," featuring Zach Ovington on the fiddle.

But the album really does come home to roost on the finishing title track, a true anthem for every Mainer who sometimes can't quite figure out what they're doing here. What do we sacrifice and what do we receive in return? With a plaintive ukulele and a rising accordion from Tim Whitehead, it's the most purely acoustic thing here and winds up being the most heartfelt.

"The way life is, ain't life the way life should be," Davison sings, desperately, "Ain't the good life promised me/It's just the way life is." When McGirr's trumpet enters? You don't have a soul if you don't fall in love with it.

Finally, it devolves into a pub-crowd singalong and if America wasn't so tight-assed, you could almost believe it was real. As for the McCarthys, you'll have no problem believing they're for real, that's for sure.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at - The Phoenix

"The McCarthys"

The McCarthys
The Way Life Is
Cornmeal Records

The McCarthys, who recently celebrated their 15th anniversary, release an album every five years — hey, good music takes time. Their latest (and arguably greatest) is The Way Life Is.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here. The McCarthys blend the sensibilities of classic country and blues with those of ’60s pop (Beatles, Byrds) to produce widely likeable music. Now officially a five-piece, with the addition of keyboardist Scott Shuster, every member sings and most contribute songwriting.

Highlights include the crunchy blues-rock of “Built for Comfort,” the honky-tonk song “I Just Pour ’Em Down” (featuring fiddler Zach Ovington), the rumbling trucker number “Take a Ride With the Devil,” and the barrelhouse burner “Gonna Die Twice.” Guitarist Tim Emery, who wrote and sings that last one, is a seasoned player whose solos could double as lessons in six-string technique.

The title track is my favorite, a song about working-class life in the Pine Tree State — its disappointments, but also the acceptance and appreciation of what that life brings. “The way life is / Ain’t the way life should be / Ain’t the good life promised me / It’s just the way life is.” The accordion (courtesy guest Tom Whitehead), trumpet (by bassist Jimmy McGirr), and group vocals strongly recall the best work of The Band.

Maine’s official state song, by Roger Vinton Snow, is the kind of cheesy, clichéd treacle you expect such things to be. (In fairness to Snow, the first track on this album, “Love Is,” has some wince-inducing lines of its own.) It may take a statewide referendum, but I’d support replacing Snow’s anthem with “The Way Life Is.”

— Chris Busby
- The Bollard


Album -"The McCarthys", Self-Titled, Side by Each Records 2000
( )

Album- "...and then some" The McCarthys, Side by Each
Records 2005
( )

Album - "The Way Life Is", The McCarthys, Cornmeal Records 2011
( )

Album-"Greetings from Area Code 207" , Track-"Stand Down" (hear it at )

Album-"Greetings from Area Code 207 Volume 2" ,
Track-"When You Come Back To Me" ( hear it at )

Album-"Greetings from Area Code 207 Volume 3" ,
Track- "Be My Lawyer" (Hear it at )

Album-"Greetings from Area Code 207 Vol. 5",
Track-"Somebody's Gonna Loose" (hear it at )



Everybody sings, everybody plays, everybody writes. In 1996 we gathered in Dale's basement to play some music and eat some nachos and things have progressed very nicely from there. As Sam Pfeilfle of the Portland Phoenix put it "The McCarthys' name is particularly apt because they really do seem like a band of brothers.” The product of the union is greater than the sum of it's parts.

All veterans of the New England music circuits, we've individually backed up some of the big guys and gals like Kathy Mattea, Kix Brooks, and Freddy Fender. We've opened for Willie Nelson, Poco, and The Austin Lounge Lizards, and spent a few years as Big Al Downing's (Hee Haw regular) northeast touring band. We released our first CD "The McCarthys" in 2000. It received airplay on over 50 radio stations in the world. In the US that included WEVL in Memphis, WFMV in Jersey City, and KNBA in Anchorage, Alaska. Internationally we received airplay all over, including Radio Galtee in Ireland, Hillbilly Rockhouse in Germany, and Honky Tonks and Heartaches in Melbourne, Australia.

The disc made the BEST of 2000 list in Casco Bay Weekly's "Short Takes" and was featured on Tufts University's WMFO "Living in America" program. The track "Quaker Gun" was included on WCLZ's "Homegrown IV" compilation disc.

Our sophomore effort "And Then Some" was unveiled at our gala CD release party at The Big Easy in Portland on January 29, 2005. Five years between discs is a long time but according to The Portland Phoenix "'...And Then Some' is evidence of that old axiom that patience is a virtue". Three of the twelve songs have been included on WCLZ's "Greetings from Area Code 207" annual Best of Maine music compilation disc.

This past year saw the release of our third CD, “The Way Life Is”, a loose concept based on life in Maine, to which both the Bollard and the Portland Phoenix proclaimed that the title song, “The Way Life Is”, should be the new state anthem. 2012 saw airplay on WBLM, WCLZ, WMPG, MPBN, WCSHs’ 207 TV show, and runner up for BEST ROOTS BAND in the Portland Phoenix.

10/1/12- recent airplay activity (past 30 days) -Radio Platja d'Aro [RPA] (102.7 FM). Platja d'Aro, None Spain Americana Music Show [WCOM] (103.5 Internet). Chapel Hill, NC United States hope f.m [life] (90.1 FM). bournemouth, None United Kingdom ADELAIDE'S COAST FM 88.7 [NONE] (88.7 M FM). Adelaide, South Australia Australia Big River FM [Big] (96.2 & FM). Dargaville, None New Zealand Radio Eagle [radi] (107.9 FM). Belgium, None Belgium studio100 radio taranto [very] (fm 100 FM). taranto, italy italy Terneuzen FM [Tern] (94.4 1 FM). Terneuzen, zeeland The Netherlands Radio Vest [RV] (94,6 FM). Ulfborg, None Denmark C.W. International [RTV] (105.9 FM). Rijswijk, None Netherlands Mount Barker Country Connectio [MBCC] (88.0 FM). Gledhow, Western Australia Australia KPIG-AM / KPFA-FM [KPIG] (1510-A FM). San Francisco / Berkeley, CA USA Radio Midt-Telemark [RMT] (107,6 FM). Norway, None United States TLCRadio Northland [TLC] (107.2 FM). Dargaville, None New Zealand Riverside Country Radio [none] (88.3 FM). Foxton , North Island New Zealand Tribe FM Incorporated [TCBL] (91.1 FM). Willunga, S.A. Australia Armidale Community Radio [2arm] (92.1 FM). Armidale, NSW Australia Radio Harbor Country [WRHC] (106.7 FM). Three Oaks, Michigan Berrien CJXF Community Radio [CJXF] (95.1 FM). Calgary, Alberta Canada Radio Middelse [Radi] (105.3 FM). Stiens, None Netherlands Always Country [(int] (na Internet). Reading, Pa USA Radio eversonpaladini 95.1 FM [ever] (95.1 FM). São José, SC Brazil Nichols College [WNRC] (97.5 FM). Dudley, Ma USA Polish National Radio Katowice [Kato] (102,2 FM). Katowice, Silesia Poland Richmond Independent Radio [WRIR] (97.3 FM). Richmond, VA United States Radio Voce Spazio [RVS] (93.800 FM). Alessandria, None Italy Moab Community Radio [KZMU] (90.1 a FM). Moab, Utah USA WRUW-FM [WRUW] (91.1 FM). Cleveland, OH United States Randolph Broadcasting [WKXR] (1260 AM). Asheboro, NC USA Radio Siljan [Radi] (94,1 ). Mora, None FM GOUD [RADI] (107.7M FM). HECHTEL-EKSEL, None Belgium JRRI [JRRI] (JRR In FM). Waterford, Ireland COUNTRY JUKEBOX [COUN] (COUNTR Internet). Munich, None Germany