James McMurtry © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

James McMurtry


With his “verbose, character-rich yarns” (Entertainment Weekly), James McMurtry has spent almost two decades fusing together roots music and lyrical witticisms that is as expansive as his father Larry McMurtry’s novels. As Rolling Stone wrote, “James McMurtry can compel you to boogie while you consider the plight of his characters.”

His first album, released in 1989, was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of critically acclaimed projects. His most recent release, 2005’s Childish Things, earned McMurtry the 2006 Album of the Year and Americana Song of the Year for “We Can’t Make It Here” from the Americana Music Association. The song received high praise as a “brutally eloquent protest song” (USA Today.) The Washington Post wrote “As he rhymes with the adeptness of a rapper and the passion of a doomsday evangelist, McMurtry’s insistent diatribe leaves you no alternative but to pay attention.”

McMurtry is currently working on a new CD here in Austin, which will feature another political anthem, “God Bless America.” McMurtry released this song, which takes the current administration to task for the war, on the internet a month before the elections. “I’ve always been a little put off by activists. So you know it’s a dire situation when I have to become one myself,” McMurtry said.


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