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James McMurtry

Texas singer/songwriter James McMurtry, known for his hard-edged character sketches, comes from a literary family; his father, novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, gave James his first guitar at age seven, and his mother, an English professor, taught him how to play it. McMurtry began performing his own songs while a student at the University of Arizona and continued to do so after returning home and taking a job as a bartender. When it transpired that a film script McMurtry's father had written was being directed by John Mellencamp, who was also its star, McMurtry's demo tape was passed along, and Mellencamp was duly impressed, serving as co-producer on McMurtry's 1989 debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, which landed McMurtry a deal with Columbia Records. McMurtry also appeared on the soundtrack of Mellencamp's film, Falling from Grace, working with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam in a one-off supergroup called the Buzzin' Cousins.

McMurtry recorded two more albums for Columbia, 1992's Candyland and 1995's Where'd You Hide the Body, before he and the label parted ways. McMurtry found a more comfortable home in the independent label community; he struck a deal with the respected roots music label Sugar Hill Records, and released his debut for the label, It Had to Happen, in 1997. Walk Between the Raindrops followed in 1998, and 2002 saw the release of Saint Mary of the Woods. McMurtry signed with the Texas-based Compadre label the following year, releasing Live in Aught-Three in 2004 and Childish Things in 2005, the latter featuring McMurtry's striking protest song "We Can't Make It Here," which longtime Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau declared was the best song of the 2000s. Just Us Kids appeared in 2008 on Lightning Rod Records, with another concert album, Live in Europe, arriving in 2009. It wasn't until 2015 that McMurtry -- who tours frequently and has a weekly residency at Austin's Continental Club when he's not on the road -- finally completed a new solo album, Complicated Game, which was produced by C.C. Adcock and Mike Napolitano. ~ Steve Huey & Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Living in the Texoma area, his music hits home. From Choctaw Bingo, I live in Durant. To Lobo Town. We do the things he sings about.
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James has a awesome voice. More James!!!!
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bjohns7778
Ain't much on talkin', he's just too mean to die.
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nicko252008
Gurf Morlix too! very overlooked wonderful artists!
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nicko252008
James Mcmurtry and david dondero are two VERY overlooked artists.
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brwalsh6
Lotta Zevon in this track..Jaws of Life
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I am in love with this man's music. Where's he been all my life?!?!
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I have to agree with the comment below. It just stuns me that an artist that is as obviously head-and-sho u l d e r s above his fellows (as is James McMurtry) slogs along in relative obscurity. I have turned so many people on to James' music, and I almost always get the same reply, to the effect of: Where has this guy been, and why haven't I heard him before? Good questions.
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best songwriter alive and no compromise with his view of the mess we are in here. We can't make it here . Saw him a number of times and his guitar playing and insight into life through his lyrics is right on target. Sad that arists like him never get recognition and yet we see no talent crap artists make it.
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antshrike1
Love me some Choctaw Bingo!
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jim.woods8
Glad he sees the world he sees.
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cjsnoopy
I just found him on my Pandora John Hiatt station. John Hiatt has been my fav since the early 90's when I first heard him. This guy is a huge success to me. Man, I would love to see him come to Maine. Hiatt's, been on a New England binge and I'm not missin out. Would definitely pay to see James McMurtry!!!!
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The guy is coming to my home town, Wapakoneta, Ohio, on May 30, 2014. It is like a dream! I cannot wait. Love this music.
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Everytime I try to get over this guy and just, you know, .... whatever, ... he just never isn't who he is, and he's just too good at what he does the way he does to walk away. Red River Valley. Nice! Still wish he's do Walk Between the Raindrops in concert.
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The governor knows !!!
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jon.hoekstra 5
Tired of Walking sounds like Richard Thompson. Great tune.
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Hell of a poet....
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Salt Lake City Loves this Guy.
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nicko252008
AWESOME!!!
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A great artist and band.
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I'm kind of late to the party, only discovering Mr. McMurtyry about a year and a half ago on Pandora on my Mark Knopfler station. Outstanding! Spreading the word as loud as I can!
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Best guitar player/songw r i t e r of my generation. Have been smitten with this guy since the early 90's.
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Did a little pick-in with James in Eagle Nest, NM at the Laguna Vista Lodge (Bar) at the end of the filming of 'Lonesome Dove' - he was one of the drovers.... What a fun evening. PH
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Is it just me or does he sound likes west Texas l97 reed?( comp lament)
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kcavanna
Makes you want to fall in love
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jdlubshina
Paints a very vivid picture with all of his song lyrics
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He has perfect pronunciatio n w/ all his lyrics - crystal clear words parents were educated, smart & taught him well - music...on his own.
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Im from Texas and this is my first time hearing him...yes Texas Lou Reed!!! lol
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Still listening... s t i l l loving.
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He is a wTexas Lou reed to Mr.anyone else?
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Simple statement in verse; very well done........ a w e s o m e
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Listening to Cheney's Toy...harsh social commentary! Nice work!
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st mary of the woods. man oh man. he's comfort food.
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Hands down my favorite artist. I love See the Elephant.
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No doubt---comi n g out of the starting gate---James makes some great music.
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as far as songwriting and story telling, James is one of the best.
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Awesome songwriter & convey er of thought! love it! A sound that resonates w/me every time. subject matter & passionate points of view couldnt be better!!!! nice last name too... Lol
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One of the best songwriters I've ever heard. Love to listen and get into every song.
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Ruby and Carlos - amazing song.. . .
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wonderfull inTexas this pass summer
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great songwriter
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I believe "Soda & Salt" is one of James McMurtry's best songs. :)
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I love me some James McMurtry. He's one of the top 3 or 4 alt. country singer songwriters of his generation imho. Think that praise is too strong? Check out Live In Aught-Three and Childish Things. GREAT records. I've been lucky enough to see him maybe a dozen times between Tulsa and Dallas. He puts on such a great show, especially if he's headlining. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Live in Aught-Three never leaves my CD changer.
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An unbelievable song writer who brings life's real stories to life and rocks while he does it! Look forward to everything he writes.
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Saw him in Madison Wednesday night and left with my cup full of great music - thanks James come back soon/
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Sixty Acres reminds me of some of Lou Reed's pissed off songs. Thumbs up.
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I would love to see him play..
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Back in 2000, I saw him at Shady Grove when it started raining.
He just walked out, pluged-in, and played.

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And the show next month is in a small setting, the local Harley Davidson store that has a great relationship with a local on-line radio station, check it out at www.wdvx.com . This one is going to be acoustic and solo. Got to be good.
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Have seen James three times and will be seeing him again next month, and again in August. So glad to he comes to our small town on a regular basis.
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