With a novelist father and English professor mother, it’s no wonder that James McMurtry ended up a songwriting-wordsmith with a lyrical knockout punch that levels the biggest turds on the Mountain of Jive. Born in Fort Worth, Texas and raised in Leesburg, Virginia, McMurtry began performing in his teens, playing guitar at local watering holes before hitting the road. College. Alaska. Odd jobs. Texas. Bartending. Open Mics. Etc. After a fortuitous turn of events, he began a critically acclaimed recording career, earning a reputation as “an astute, clear-eyed observer and concise, no-holds-barred chronicler of the human condition.” Sometime around the 2004 election, McMurtry cranked up the socio-political knob and took aim at the criminal enterprise known as the Bush Administration. Songs like “We Can’t Make it Here” and later, “Cheney’s Toy,” were given away free on the internet and received massively positive response for their cutting diatribe against social injustice and the Administration’s rampant hypocrisy and turbo-propaganda deceptions. Response to these songs can be attested to in numerous fan-made videos of “We Can’t Make It Here” on youtube. With ten records in his back catalog, Just Us Kids is his latest. James McMurtry plays the Blue Moon Saloon on tonight, Dec. 12.
Playing Favorites with James McMurtry
1. Favorite thing to buy at a truck stop? Gasoline.
2. Least favorite automobile ever owned? And why? My brand new Ford Ranger pickup. Four banger exacerbates my hypertension. Standard transmission’s a major hassle in a speed bump infested neighborhood (“speed lump” as you say in Lafayette).
3. If suddenly inducted into the Royal Family of the British Monarchy, what
would you Royal title be? King McMurtry.
4. Favorite artist/band that is a guilty pleasure? C.C. Adcock.
5. Favorite book that would never be on any bestseller list? “Bound for Glory” Woody Guthrie’s autobiography.
6. If you were a professional wrestler, what would be your signature move be
called? Sudden Death.
7. What’s the next evolution of mankind? Good question, because to survive, our minds will have to evolve faster than our brains are capable of evolving. We will have to learn to think around the hard wiring left over from our cave man days, particularly the circuit that drives us to kill those we think to be different from ourselves. We will also have to cast off the notion that our resources are unlimited and that our planet can take whatever abuse we dole out. I don’t know that there will be a next evolution of mankind. I don’t know if we can learn fast enough to give ourselves time to evolve.