Cut Worms Shares “Ballad of the Texas King,” Announces New Self-Titled Album

Cut Worms — the project of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter/musician Max Clarke — announces his new self-titled album out July 21 on Jagjaguwar, lead single “Ballad of the Texas King,” and U.S. tour dates. In many ways, Cut Worms is a response to 2020’s Nobody Lives Here Anymore, Clarke’s expansive double-LP recorded in Memphis, and continues his exploration of “pop essentialism.” While writing new material, he challenged himself to cut out extraneous detail and hang on to the essentials of what makes a song stronger. “How much can I say and give in a limited amount of time?” Mining the golden hits of yesteryear for a timeless double A-side sound, Clarke contemplates age-old questions through a modern lens. The result is a compact collection of daydream anthems that live between the summer’s hopeful beginnings and the season’s fleeting end.

“Ballad of the Texas King” is — in Clarke’s words — “sort of ‘the bridge’ between my last record and the new one. It’s a murder ballad, and as is common in murder ballads, deals with promise and innocence being snuffed out.” Of its cinematic Clay Tatum-directed video, Clarke says: “The video concept was a collaboration between me and director Clay Tatum. He and Whitmer Thomas used one of my songs in their recent film The Civil Dead which I very much enjoyed and so I sought them out to do my video. I’m real pleased with how it came out and I think it puts the song in another dimension.”

A youthful spirit breathes through Cut Worms’ nine songs as Clarke wrestles with a paradox — the joys of experience cannot be won without the loss of experience. On “Ballad of a Texas King” Clarke sings, “Hey kid come along… something is wrong… I believe you know… All this to say, only one way that this can go…” It’s as if he’s reaching out to his younger self, letting him know the changes are inevitable. How do we hang on to a dream? How do we not lose ourselves in a world that is lost? The only way out of a nightmare is to keep going. Clarke’s answer lies in his art, where the search for love and the perfect pop song coalesce and transcend him to that other plane.

This July, Cut Worms will play a special, intimate residency at Brooklyn, NY’s Union Pool. Later this fall, he’ll embark on a lengthy tour, bringing his beloved live set to cities across North America. Full dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now.

Fri. July 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
Fri. July 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
Fri. July 21 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
Tue. Sept. 5 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Wonder Bar
Wed. Sept. 6 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd Music House
Fri. Sept. 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
Sat. Sept. 9 – Nashville, TN @ Blue Room at Third Man Records
Mon. Sept. 11 – Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
Tue. Sept. 12 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Wed. Sept. 13 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Fri. Sept. 15 – Dallas, TX @ Dada
Sat. Sept. 16 – Austin, TX @ The Ballroom
Mon. Sept. 18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Tue. Sept. 19 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Thu. Sept. 21 – Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
Fri. Sept. 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Mon. Sept. 25 – Seattle, WA @ Madame Lou’s at The Crocodile
Tue. Sept. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
Wed. Sept. 27 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Fri. Sept. 29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Sat. Sept. 30 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
Mon. Oct. 2 – Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
Tue. Oct. 3 – Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Wed. Oct. 4 – Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk Music
Fri. Oct. 6 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Sun. Oct. 8 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Bling Pig
Mon. Oct. 9 – Toronto, On @ Horseshoe Tavern

Photo Courtesy: Caroline Gohlke