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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live In Europe

Disc 1

1. Bayou Tortue (Live)

2. Just Us Kids (Live)

3. Hurricane Party (Live)

4. You'd A' Thought (Leonard Cohen Must Die) (Live)

5. Fraulein O. (Live)

6. Ruby And Carlos (Live)

7. Freeway View (Live)

8. Restless (Live)

Disc 2
x

Track List: Just Us Kids

1. Bayou Tortous

2. Just Us Kids

3. God Bless America (Pat MacDonald Must Die)

4. Cheney's Toy

5. Freeway View

6. Hurricane Party

7. Ruby And Carlos

8. Brief Intermission

10. The Governor

11. Ruins Of The Realm

12. You'd A' Thought (Leonard Cohen Must Die)

x

Track List: Childish Things

1. See The Elephant

2. Childish Things

3. We Can't Make It Here

4. Ole Slew Foot

5. Bad Enough

6. Restless

7. Memorial Day

8. Six-Year Drought

9. The Old Part Of Town

10. Charlemagne's Home Town

11. Pocatello

12. Holiday

x

Track List: Saint Mary Of The Woods

1. Dry River

2. Valley Road

3. Saint Mary Of The Woods

4. Out Here In The Middle

5. Lobo Town

6. Broken Bed

7. Red Dress

8. Gulf Road

9. Gone To The Y

10. Choctaw Bingo

x

Track List: Walk Between The Raindrops

1. Walk Between The Raindrops

2. Every Little Bit Counts

3. Soda And Salt

4. Fast As I Can

5. Tired Of Walking

6. Airline Agent

7. Racing To The Red Light

8. Comfortable

9. I Only Want To Talk To You

10. Rex's Blues

x

Track List: It Had To Happen

1. Paris

2. Peter Pan

3. For All I Know

4. No More Buffalo

5. 12 O'Clock Whistle

6. Sixty Acres

7. Be With Me

8. Wild Man From Boreno

9. Stancliff's Lament

10. Jaws Of Life

x

Track List: Where'd You Hide The Body

1. Iolanthe

2. Off And Running

3. Fuller Brush Man

4. Rachel's Song

5. Down Across The Delaware

6. Levelland

7. One More Winter

8. Late Norther

9. Rayolight

10. Melinda

11. Lost In The Back Yard

12. Where'd You Hide The Body

13. Right Here Now

x

Track List: Candyland

1. Where's Johnny

2. Vague Directions

3. Hands Like Rain

4. Safe Side

5. Candyland

6. Don't Waste Away

7. Good Life

8. Save Yourself

9. Storekeeper

10. Dusty Pages

x

Track List: Americana Master Series: Best Of The Sugar Hill Years

1. Sixty Acres

2. Every Little Bit Counts

3. No More Buffalo

4. Gulf Road

5. Tired Of Walking

6. Lobo Town

7. Broken Bed

8. Paris

9. Walk Between The Raindrops

10. Fast As I Can

11. Out Here In The Middle

12. 12 O'Clock Whistle

13. Choctaw Bingo

x

Track List: Big Things (Single)

1. Big Things

x

Track List: Complicated Game

1. Copper Canteen

2. You Got to Me

3. Ain't Got a Place

4. She Loves Me

5. How'm I Gonna Find You Now

6. These Things I've Come to Know

7. Deaver's Crossing

8. Carlisle's Haul

9. Forgotten Coast

10. South Dakota

11. Long Island Sound

12. Cutter

Comments

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Love some McMurtry!
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No I hate the man sent the jobs away...we cant make it here anymore-neve r a truer word!
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THE MAN NO BULLSHIT SEES LIFE AS IT IS!
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I have listened to J. M starting with his first album he had some of John Mellencamp band and Mellencamp produced his first album many do not know this if I remember it was candy land that I know of he has only improved sense than also you know his dad is the great writer Larry lonesome dove and many more books fun to read as well tale follows in this family
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Sittin in the fish house don't matter if the fish are bittin. JMc. Is all I need
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♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Since '89, I've been following this guy around like a lovesick puppy.
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He's right!we can't make it here anymore.
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Been listening to JMac since the late 80's.
Always great stuff, great song writer/story teller!
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cathypentz
Saw him last night at small venue in Athens, GA. When he comes back I'll be there; great show.
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Had never heard him in 2+ years on Pandora but he started popping up on my Billy Joe Shaved station on Iheartradio and he has done some interesting stuff.
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HEY CORNBREAD
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What the hell is wrong with Nashville?
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Sitting in a philly bar 4 years ago, someone plays james mc murtry on jukebox. Love him since. Thanks drunk man
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mittelholzer
Let's get James' new album up here: Complicated Game is a gem.
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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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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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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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