Good Ol’ Music: James McMurtry
A couple of new albums were just released this week and I’ve been playing them all week. James McMurtry has been the real deal for a couple of decades. One of the voices of the American West with a lot of Woody Guthrie running in his inkwell.
His songs are filled with blow away lines of what you might call the near absolute truth, such as, “we gather round and hold out hope that at the end of the rope- there’s a little more rope, most times.”
This week came the release of “Complicated Game,” James McMurtry’s 14th album of his interesting recording career that began in 1989. One of his generation’s bedrock of the Americana/Alternative Country genre, James has always had a lot of Kris Kristoffersen in him, and with this record, he leads the way for middle class/ working man/blue collar/roll up your sleeves America that we live in.
There have always been a lot of pretenders in Nashville recording studios rehearsing/rehashing/ and releasing a planet of lightweight stuff that keeps Country Music keeping a lot of our hard earned money. About 90% of what comes out of Nashville is processed waste. About 65% of what comes out of Austin is too. All of them thinking they have something worth our listening to, and dreaming that they are the next big thing.
In contrast, James McMurtry has always been worth listening to and he has never tried to be the next big anything. He is not anonymous by any means, but he isn’t on the country music charts, never has been, never will be. He avoids publicity and is pretty good at it too. Most folks don’t know him, never have heard him, and well this is your wake up call.
Here are a few of my favorite McMurtry songs:
You have to start with his anthem “Choctaw Bingo” which is the best eight minutes you’ll have today if you check it out. On this new record, check out “Forgotton Coast.” and I’d also recommend “The Lights of Cheyenne.” – Harry