The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Max Clarke of traditional pop act Cut Worms appeared as a guest on Norah Jones Is Playing Along, the acclaimed artist’s podcast. The episode came out on August 15th, featuring duets of numerous Cut Worms tracks, along with a special Carole King cover. 

Clarke shared on the podcast that he is from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to NYC in 2014. He went to art school in Chicago for cartooning, where met his partner, visual artist Caroline Gohlke. Clarke started playing guitar when he was 11 on a “$5 garage-sale guitar” teaching himself to play “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. “It had like one low E string, that was all I had.” After getting strings, his uncles taught him some chords, and he took a few months of guitar lessons. “I was too impatient to learn how to read music… which I kinda regret now,” he explained.

To begin the episode, Jones explained how she had discovered Cut Worms during the pandemic. Their song “Song of the Highest Tower” from the 2017 EP Alien Sunset, found its way into Jones’ rotation, becoming a heavy favorite of hers. The two then performed a duet of the song.

Jones and Clarke also performed “Too Bad” and “Is it Magic?” from Cut Worm’s 2023 self-titled album. Clarke stated that he wrote and recorded the latter by himself in a small Brooklyn studio. “I had a little digital 8-track thing that I’ve had for years that’s part of the songwriting process for me.” They would also close the episode with a cover of the 2020 Cut Worms song “Sold My Soul.”

The two delved into the concept of close harmonies, as many of Clarke’s inspirations had ingrained this into his style. Brian Wilson was “one of my very favorites,” said Clarke, also citing The Beatles, the Everly Brothers, Skeeter Davis, and Carole King. This led to a cover of “Crying In the Rain,” a song written by Carole King and Howard Greenfield, that was originally recorded and released by the Everly Brothers in 1962. 

Clarke brought up Foreverly, a reimagined version of The Everly Brothers’ 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, recorded by Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. “That was totally spearheaded by [Armstrong], he really wanted to do the whole album… and I’m still not really sure exactly where that came from.” 

In July, Cut Worms appeared on WXPN’s Indie Rock Hit Parade for a live session, performing tracks from their new self-titled album. The segment was also featured on NPR’s World Cafe. Cut Worms play Asbury Park’s The Wonder Bar on Sept. 5th, tickets are available now on their website


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Cut Worms - Full Set (Recorded Live for the Indie Rock Hit Parade)