James McMurtry to Release First Album in Six Years
Fans of elite folk/Americana songwriter James McMurtry have been waiting a long time for new music from the famous son and fixture of Austin’s Continental Club. McMurtry released his last studio record Just Us Kids in April of 2008. Soon fan’s patience will be rewarded.
James McMurtry has partnered with the label Complicated Game out of Los Angeles to release a new record in February of 2015. The album was recorded and produced in New Orleans by noted Louisiana singer/songwriter C.C. Adcock, and is said to bring a fresh perspective to the studio for James by “exploring more expansive instrumentation and arrangements while retaining a sharp focus on his masterful guitar work and his poetic storytelling style.”
Francois Moret, the owner of Complicated Game, found out about McMurtry through producer C.C. Adcock. Francois was “mesmerized” by a McMurtry solo performance at the Continental Club in Austin where McMurtry plays on a weekly basis when not on tour, and knew he wanted to sign him immediately. There is no specific title or release date for the new album just yet. More details are expected to come in the coming weeks.
52-year-old James McMurtry was born in Ft. Worth Texas to the famous Texas novelist Larry McMurtry, and learned guitar at an early age from his mother. In 1987 McMurtry was able to get the attention of John Mellencamp who produced his first album Too Long In The Wasteland released on Columbia Records. Since then McMurtry has become a well-respected songwriter, guitarist, and performer throughout the folk and Americana realm, releasing a total of 11 albums, and creating a reputation for his biting lyrics often tinged with political ideologies. Music critic Robert Christgau once ranked McMurtry’s song “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore” as the best song of the 2000’s.
James McMurtry lives in Austin and tours regularly. The below video posted in March was shot during the recording of the new album.
October 1, 2014 @ 2:27 pm
I’ve been waiting for this for way too long. I’ve only heard a couple tracks so far, but I can guarantee that this will be the best written album of 2015. No songwriter covers as wide an array of topics, delves into as many unique human emotions, or explores as many unexplored life situations as James McMurtry. He is hands down the greatest songwriter of this generation. On top of that, he’s an excellent guitar player.
October 1, 2014 @ 2:38 pm
We Can’t Make It Here is such a great song…by such a great writer.
For ME – if you can’t write, I have no interest in you. I don’t care how good you think you fake people into believing you can sing someone else’s shit – if you didn’t write it, you can only pretend to sing it. So, with phony release after phony release getting shit out by people who can’t be bothered to come up with their own thoughts, all year long – I’m REALLY looking forward to this album! Yea!
October 1, 2014 @ 3:54 pm
That seems a little harsh. Elvis Presley? Waylon Jennings? Frank Sinatra? Caruso?
October 1, 2014 @ 4:35 pm
Why do people constantly lump Waylon Jennings together with pure performers who never wrote a decent song? Waylon wrote dozens of songs, including most of his best-known songs. He was not as prolific a song-writer as Cash or Willie, but he was far from a slouch when it came to songwriting. Frankly, he should have recorded more of his own material, because almost all of his self-penned tunes are great….
October 1, 2014 @ 4:38 pm
I’m not saying they suck – or have no place in music, just that I have very little interest PERSONALLY, in people doing other people’s songs. The only one I really care for out of your list is Waylon – and there’s definitely a huge difference in him singing the songs he wrote compared to the others. I wish he’s written more – he was pretty good at it! Most people who do their own material AND covers, almost always sound 100x better when singing their own stuff. You just feel your own stuff more. There ARE exceptions of course – but in geral…
I’m not a big Elvis fan, but there’s no doubt he nailed the material. Most do not. They just read it off a sheet and collect the money. Even people I like can tend to sound that way doing other people’s material.
Sinatra bores me to death – at his most exciting, and I’m not smart enough to listen to Caruso.
But hey, this is just the opinion of a songwriter, and god knows we’re not quite wired right. 😀
October 3, 2014 @ 3:19 pm
I say this constantly about George Strait and all I get is grief. Lay off the starch George.
January 6, 2015 @ 5:29 pm
What about Sturgill Simpson’s cover of The Promise? He absolutely made that song his own.
October 1, 2014 @ 2:56 pm
Saw Mcmurtry solo at a small theater last winter. He played a lot of the new songs, which were all great. His songwriting really overshadows his excellent guitar playing. I didn’t realize how well he played until I saw him live.
October 1, 2014 @ 3:50 pm
With all of Obama’s wars and bombings,the NSA,IRS,Fast &Furious,Benghazi,Solyndra scandals, (just to name a few) not to mention a Marine sitting in jail in Mexico for nothing while O plays golf, surely this dude will have all KINDS of material to cover.I mean he’s just not one sided,…RIGHT?
October 1, 2014 @ 7:56 pm
Not one-sided, but “better” sided than the phony patriots who get their information from Rush Limbaugh and Faux News.
October 1, 2014 @ 8:35 pm
Oh The constant liberal moan of Rush and Fox news. I guess “real patriots” get their info from msnbc and Bill Mahr,right? Oh,and you forgot to point out it’s all “Bush’s fault”. Cmon man,cover ALL the lib talking points or go home.
October 1, 2014 @ 8:53 pm
James McMurtry is one of the greatest singer/songwriters alive today. Can’t wait for the new album. If you like Robert Earl Keen’s ‘Out Here In The Middle’ or ‘Levelland’ or Ray Wylie Hubbard’s ‘Choctaw Bingo’ — they didn’t write those. McMurtry’s ‘Live In Aught-Three’ is the greatest live album I ever heard..
October 1, 2014 @ 9:11 pm
The sign of a great songwriter is when other great songwriters cut their songs. The ultimate compliment.
October 2, 2014 @ 8:23 am
Couldn’t have said it any better
October 2, 2014 @ 9:49 am
A couple times, at lives shows, I’ve heard McMurtry introduce Levelland or Out Here in the Middle by saying, “Here’s another Robert Earl Keen song that I wrote…” One minor point that I have to slightly disagree with Trig, in regard to this article is that I do not think that McMurtry’s songs are “often tinged with political ideologies.” A couple songs on Just Us Kids were overtly political. His first several albums didn’t really delve into politics, but were incisive cultural critiques. I don’t regard “We Can’t Make it Here Anymore” as a political song. I see it more as a populist statement that transcends politics or silly statements about one party or the other.
As for those who regard him as some radical leftist, have you ever heard Out Here in the Middle? Also, McMurtry has acknowledged that he was a fan of Jeff Cooper and Guns & Ammo magazine. Do you know who Jeff Cooper was, or what he wrote about?
October 3, 2014 @ 11:07 am
I heard him say that about ‘…the middle’ and REK at a show one time. Pretty funny…
I’ve seen him with the band, and I saw an acoustic solo show at Eddie’s Attic, that gave me an even deeper appreciation for his lyrics. Strip the song down and let the lyrics carry, and the songs seemed so much more powerful.
October 2, 2014 @ 6:17 am
I really shouldn’t comment–as it should be more of a discussion–as to the place in country music for solo performers. I think they can be great live–not so much on record. I think a solo performance has more impact when it is contrasted with a full band. I think strong solo performers must be hard to tame in the studio. I think James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen do this type of thing well–maybe there are others. Neil Young, for instance.
I do not care for most solo music, ergo my lack of actual knowledge–just meaningless thoughts.
Occasionally there is someone who transcends all that, though. Seeing James McMurtry live should be on everyone’s bucket list. Country or not.
TX Music Jim
October 2, 2014 @ 8:15 am
I am pumped for this one it has been too long ! James is brilliant as a writer and a performer. They guy can play guitar ! If you have not seen him live do it, He will blow you away.Out here in the middle is one of the best written songs i have ever heard..
October 2, 2014 @ 9:30 am
I was having a terrible day here in South Carolina but this news just made the sun come out and the birds start singing. Thanks Trigger. James McMurtry is every bit as good a performer as he is a songwriter. Can’t wait to see him again at the Gray Eagle in Asheville 11/1.
October 2, 2014 @ 6:21 pm
This is good news…sort of. I think all of McMurtry’s albums up to Saint Mary of the Woods were incredible. The last two have not been very good, in my opinion. There are two reasons why I think this is. First, neither Childish Things nor Just us kids felt like they fit with the rest of his catalog. To me, there was a musical pedigree that ran from Too Long in the Wasteland through Saint Mary. Things were especially tight from Where’d You Hide the Body through Walk Between the Raindrops. These last two just did not fit and didn’t appeal to me. There were a few good songs, that seemed to be in the old McMurtry style but it was too little.
The other thing that happened on these two albums was his politics rising to the surface. As a pretty conservative guy, I am used to differing with a lot of the artists that I enjoy, so differing politics isn’t necessarily the issue. Instead, it was the overtness of all of it. The sneer and the vitriol just bubbled up and smothered everything else. His politics weren’t necessarily different than on any previous album but instead of telling a good story and making someone with different views rethink things, it was more of a bludgeon that could be cast off. There is more engaging commentary in 12 O’clock Whistle or Choctaw Bingo than Can’t Make It Here Anymore. But hey, if we couldn’t make here in 2005, we sure as hell can’t make it here now.
I was in gradschool in Texas from 2002 to 2006 and saw him frequently. I though the shows were consistently better before Childish Things came out.
So…hopefully this will be a return to form.
October 2, 2014 @ 8:36 pm
One good sign you could take away is that he took his time with this one. When Robert Earl Kenn announced recently that he was making a bluegrass album, he admitted he’d gotten a little stale on his last couple of albums. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and let the best songs accumulate before releasing a new album.
October 2, 2014 @ 11:56 pm
I agree. That is why I am hopeful that this new album will be good. I really hope he brings it back to where he used to be. There are plenty of other acts that ought to take a step back for a little bit. Reckless Kelly is a good example. All their albums up through Bulletproof were fantastic and Somewhere in Time was a great project that worked. Then they came back with Good Luck & True Love and it started to feel a little flat. Still some great stuff but not quite the kick as the others. Then Long Night Moon comes out and…real flat. I know they were trying to do something a bit different but it seemed to lack the passion as their previous efforts.