“His work on six-string acoustic guitar stands out in jazz instrumentals and seems unhampered by delivering solo stylings usually associated with combos.” - VARIETY
A professional musician since the age of 15, Bob McCarthy is a songwriter, composer, guitarist, mandolinist, and vocalist who began his musical career in New York and Boston-Cambridge area coffeehouses and college concerts in the late 1960s. Bob has an easy presence which, combined with tasteful guitar work and a rich voice, makes him a captivating and extraordinary performer, drawing on many styles, including elements of folk, bluegrass, Celtic, Brazilian, gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues.In the middle to late 1960‘s, during his earlier days in New York, Bob performed at Gerde’s Folk City, the Cafe Wha? and many other Greenwich Village coffeehouses. While performing at Folk City with Tom Chapin and Mount Airy in the early 1970’s, he received the following review in the international entertainment newspaper Variety which said of his performance, “His work on six-string acoustic guitar stands out in jazz instrumentals and seems unhampered by delivering solo stylings usually associated with combos.” Quoting from the Boston area college newspaper, Pennon, “Bob McCarthy is one heck of a lead guitarist who’s musical interpretation is pure genius, comparable to Dave Mason and Jimmy Page.”
In 1972 he compiled a number of original compositions and his production/publishing company, Wandra Music, released his first album, Advice & Company. This LP was produced by Bob, Andy Pratt and Ray Paret and recorded at Aengus Studios, the famed Boston area recording studio in Fayville, Massachusetts, and engineered by owner Bill Riseman and Jesse Henderson. The reissue of the the original vinyl record released on CD this year, features McCarthy’s vocals and acoustic and electric guitar, and includes Andy Pratt on piano and vocals, Abraham Laboriel and David Saltman on bass, Rick Shlosser on drums, Bill Elliott on piano, and Gene Rosov on cello and Robin Batteau on violin. He is a life-long member of ASCAP (American Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
McCarthy also wrote and performed in many commercials, and appeared on radio and television shows in New York and Boston. His work appears on recordings of Bill Staines and Brian Cullman, as well as Columbia Records artists Andy Pratt and John Compton, founder of Appaloosa.
In addition to his solo career, he has shared the stage with Jorma Kaukonen of the Jefferson Airplane, Bonnie Raitt, The Everly Brothers, Neil Young, Taj Mahal, Dion Dimucci of Dion and the Belmonts, Jay Leno, Steve Goodman, Leo Kottke, Pentangle, Tim Hardin, Alex Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Mountain, The Youngbloods, Jim Kweskin, Mimi Farina and many others. While playing with John Compton and Robin Batteau (formerly known as Appaloosa) at a concert in Washington, DC, he shared the stage with The Beach Boys, bassist Charlie Mingus, Jonathan Edwards and Linda Ronstadt. Most recently, July of 2012, he shared the stage with blues legend John Mayall. As a free-lance guitarist and mandolinist, he established himself by performing on stage with Irish legend, Tommy Makem, Nanci Griffith, Larry Coryell, and Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary, Buddy Miles, and Grammy award winner, Eugene Friesen of the Paul Winter Consort.
Bob currently has four CDs available. His latest, titled Wounded, Mercy and Sudden Light, contains folk, jazz and world music with Bob McCarthy on mandolin and guitar, Mick Fritzsching on cello, Randy Roos, guitar, Jerry Leake, percussion, David Saltman on bass, and Jeanne Ricks on keys, come together for this outstanding instrumental album. Also featured in Bob's catalogue of music is Star of the Sea, Satisfied Mind, (featuring the legendary blues harp player, James Montgomery), and Where I Live, featuring jazz guitarist Randy Roos and percussionist Jerry Leake and other jazz luminaries. Bob continues to perform as a studio guitarist and mandolinist at concerts, coffeehouses, and festivals.