Thursday 24 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Stranger than fiction

Stranger than fiction

Americana singer-songwriter James McMurtry has amassed a cult following over the years, largely on the heels of his twisted literary chops.

Kevin Pickard June 18th, 2014

James McMurtry

8 p.m. Wednesday, June 18

The Blue Door

2805 N. McKinley Ave.



It has been six years since James McMurtry released his last album, Just Us Kids. However, after signing to a new label, Complicated Game, and spending multiple sessions in a studio in New Orleans working with producer C.C. Adcock, his new album is set for release on October 28.

The recording process for the new record was different than usual for McMurtry.

“We’ll come in for a week or so and do some work and go off and tour some more, because really, the only money in the music business right now is [in] touring,” McMurtry said. “So we haven’t been able to just go in and spend six weeks in the studio like we used to in the old days.”

McMurtry’s father is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. His mother was an English teacher. Given that he was raised in a household burgeoning with creativity, it seems that he could have chosen any number of outlets for his creativity. Why music, specifically?

“Because I listened to it,” he said. “I didn’t read much, so it wasn’t natural for me to be a prose writer. But I listened to a lot of music growing up, so it seemed natural to be a musician.”

Maybe he didn’t read much, but his songs have a literary quality that few other songwriters can channel. Fiction writer Stephen King said McMurtry “may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” and if you pay attention to the lyrics in “Choctaw Bingo,” perhaps his most famous song, you realize that King’s assessment is devoid of hyperbole.

The music for “Choctaw Bingo” is, as McMurtry described, an “up-tempo, rockin’ shuffle,” which masks the weird, almost sinister lyrics underneath. The song tosses off casual references to incest, cooking meth and spiking your kids’ Cherry Coke with vodka (an efficient way to quiet them down for a long car ride, apparently). It’s full of sarcasm about its characters and the glamorization of the South so prevalent in country music. But do people notice its critique of that way of life?

“We get a lot of dancing for that one,” McMurtry said.

In previous interviews, McMurtry has talked about how mainstream country music sells a particular type of fiction, and while he also is selling a fiction in his music, his is darker and more twisted. As a Southern writer, he falls into the tradition of others like William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor.

“[Writing like this is] more believable than happy songs,” he said. “And I guess part of songwriting is working stuff out — it’s working out pain and whatever else.”

His new album will be different than his previous two releases, both because this one will not feature political songs — for which he has become known — and also because it is more acoustic-based. You’ll just have to wait and see what kind of twisted fictions are in store.

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