In “County Line,” singer-songwriter and nomad Cass McCombs rides his yearning voice through the desert like a crazy horse with no name. That soulful voice is his best asset, and he knows how to use it, with a mastery of folk-rock phrasing. The tune wafts through a hinterland of Rhodes piano that seems to shimmer on the edge of breaking free, just like the orange layers rising from a southwestern sunset. Maybe this reflects the county line itself, a vibrant, living thing that repels the singer yet drags him in. Wavering with vocal tension, McCombs takes the scenic route with plenty of time to savor this emotional landscape of resignation. Lay it out and try it on for size; it’s a fine little slice of vagabond Americana.
The track is from Cass' upcoming album, WIT'S END. Look for it via Domino on 4/12.