McCarthy Trenching with High Up at Holland’s 1200 Club Series


May 5th, 2017


McCarthy Trenching ( James Maakestad, Dan McCarthy)

MCCARTHY: “Songwriting wise I love John Prine, who I feel now is having a real Renaissance. I love Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.”


That’s Dan McCarthy of the band McCarthy Trenching. For the last decade the folk duo has been performing and touring in and around the Midwest. Their first performance at the Holland Center was nearly ten years ago, opening for Bright Eyes. They’ll will be playing there this Saturday evening in the final concert of the 1200 Club series. His main instruments are guitar, piano, and vocals, and talks about how his musical career began.

MCCARTHY: “I took piano lessons as a kid and played a little bit of ragtime at that time. I didn’t start writing songs until I was in college. Then I studied an awful lot of poetry in college. At that time, I liked Yates of course, William Butler Yates and H.D. the American poet, Hilda Doolittle, Elizabeth Bishop, of course. Then as I get to be an older man of course Philip Larkin, kind of curmudgeons like that appeal to me.”

McCarthy lived in Shelby, IA before moving to Nebraska at the age of 9. He spoke about how livingin the Midwest really shaped his music.

MCCARTHY “Part of it I think, shapes your language, the way that we speak to each other is different than the way people on the coast speak or down south even. Just a lot of the landscape. More than most songwriters, I write about seasons and landscapes and buildings and that is all kind of Midwestern. I do have one song that I am proud of called “Ogalala Aquifer” which is almost nerdily Nebraskan.
McCarthy shares what we can expect from their performance this Saturday, which takes place in the Scott Recital Hall, in a night club setting.

MCCARTHY : “My band, McCarthy Trenching is two people, myself and James Maakestad. James plays the upright bass and I’ll play piano for some of the set and guitar for some of the set. The thing I’m most excited about is the horn players, the trombone and trumpet players from High Up, the second band, they’ll join us for a couple of songs in sort of a special arrangement for that. James and I will play a couple of Scott Joplin rags that we arranged for piano and bass. You can’t, or I can’t pull that off without the physics of a real piano, without the hammers, and gravity,”

McCarthy Trenching will have you moving in your seat, and as McCarthy explains the other band from Omaha might have you up and dancing.
MCCARTHY: “High Up is a band of two sisters, Orenda Fink, who has been a really important musician here in Omaha since she moved here fifteen years ago. She had the band Azure Ray, she has performed under her own name and the band O + S and I’ve played in several of her bands whenever she would have me. And she started the band with her sister Christine, as the signer. They write their own songs but it’s real energetic and soul influenced. The Fink sisters are from Alabama and so they bring kind of a southern, Muscle Shoals influence to it.”

The ensemble of High Up also features bass guitar, percussion, a small horn section and the founders husband, Todd Fink, of The Faint will be performing on guitar and keys.
When McCarthy isn’t touring or performing around Omaha, he is rehearsing at home.

MCCARTHY: “I play a Steinway Model A at home, which is my pride and joy. Since she moved in, she hasn’t ever left.”

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