Last October, Cass McCombs released Big Wheel and Others, his seventh album, and today he's shared the title track's official video. "Video Collage" may be a more accurate descriptor for the "Big Wheel" music video, as it splices together a bunch of seemingly unrelated footage and overlays it all with various words from the song's lyrics.
Those lyrics are the most noteworthy component of this whole package, as the song's repetitive groove seems to function more and more as a canvas for McCombs' wise words with each listen. "Big Wheel" deconstructs the American ideal of "manhood," listing blue collar signifiers such as John Deere, bulldozers and lumber yards before questioning, "What does it mean to be a man?" The answer ("I’m a man because I say I am, now gimme a kiss") is the song's second best line, beaten only by the bone-chilling couplet, "A man is bolts, a man is rust, for a little while, then the man is dust." McCombs' poetry is wholly American -- somewhere between Neil Young and Walt Whitman -- and it's the main reason you should listen to his music.
If his music isn't your cup of tea, head over to McCombs' website, where all of his lyrics are available to read. Check out the lyrics to "Big Wheel" below:
Cass McCombs "Big Wheel" Lyrics:
The taste of diesel and the sound of big rigs
Rubber, metal, oil and stone
Scoring at truck stops, lot lizards and driving far alone
Garbage trucks lifting cans in the morning Sun
Behind the wheel of a bulldozer is my idea of fun
John Deere, Dynapac steamrollers, grain silos & old barns
Electric storms over lumber yards
Small wheel runs by faith
Big wheel runs by grace
A wheel in a wheel go round and round
What does it mean to be a man?
How you gonna tell me who I am?
A man is bolts, a man is rust
For a little while, then the man is dust
A man with a man- how more manly can you get?
I may be five-foot-one but you’re all wet
Be a man
I live by my principles, I stick to my guns
I wake up well before garbage or the Sun
I die by my honor which I alone define
My heart is yours, my soul is mine
Take back your flowers and your fance and priss
I’m a man because I say I am, now gimme a kiss
Now there’s peace in the valley
No cause for war
No suspicion, no jealousy
Let the eagle soar
Let the dog’s tail wag
Let the children sing
There’s peace in the valley
Let freedom ring