Before her latest album, Big Picture, Christie McCarthy had released four albums, guested on other artists’ records and had songs on a Target Christmas compilation. But Big Picture is special, because it’s her first album since she moved to Santa Cruz nine years ago.
“I was focusing on some other stuff in my life and in my work,” McCarthy says. “It’s just been the last couple years that I pivoted back to music.”
The album sounds like it could have been plucked right out of the Laurel Canyon era of ’70s singer-songwriters, with lots of subtly complex hooks and lush harmonies, and a wealth of influences from the realms of folk, Americana and rock ‘n’ roll.
Overall, it’s got an uplifting vibe to it. She touches on the darkness of the times, but asks us to focus our attention on the beauty all around us instead.
“It’s interesting what’s going on in the world today. There’s a lot of conflict,” McCarthy says. “I think there is an opportunity in the dark for love and for friendship and all those things to arise.”
She worked relentlessly on the record with several local musicians she’d met since moving here. She also had a vision for the album to have the flow and feel of the old ’70s records that had specific side A and side B’s to them.
“I chose a group of songs that I thought would tell a story where the sum is larger than its parts, like reading a book,” McCarthy says.
Since moving here, she’s tended to play only occasionally, even after releasing Big Picture last year. She’s hoping 2019 will be a little bit different.
“This year, I’m really focused on doing a handful of solid shows, focused on putting together this band, really focused on getting out there a lot more,” McCarthy says.
INFO: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21. Michael’s on Main, 2591 Main St., Soquel. $12 adv/$15 door. 479-9777.