122815-mcmurtryWritten by Eddie Ferranti

Being a reviewer, I get to say what is on my mind for the most part. That being said, I much prefer when the performer I’m covering says what is on THEIR mind. In the case of one James McMurtry, you get a boat load to chew on!

Backing his latest album, Complicated Game, JM cruised thru the evenings late set weaving his 5-6 minute novels masterfully. This is his first release in seven years and it showcased his spot on lyrics of today’s world framed by underrated guitar prowess.

Opening with “Melinda” JM tore it up on his guitar backed by a robust sound that was crystal clear.  McMurtry is a man of few words between songs, but his IN song words are priceless like on “Red Dress” where he barked: “I’m drunk, but you’re ugly and when I’m sober you’ll still be ugly!” Classic. His thought provoking and keenly observant views  delivered in his rhetorical growl were non-stop and refreshing all night.

A four bagger of new gems  rolled like a snowball downhill and really got the packed house’s attention. One he wrote in New Orleans called “You Got to Me”, stellar “I Ain’t Got a Place”, roadhouse rock beat on “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” and bad ass “Long Island Sound” all demanded attention. McMurtry’s songs all seem to have a common thread of cold weather,  small town middle class life, women that came and went and good ole boy blue collar realistic hard times involving booze or drugs. His tune “Levelland” was made famous by Robert Earl Keen and it paints a picture of the early days when mama rolled her before air conditioning and now never sees the sky because of the satellite dish!

122815-mcmurtry2“No More Buffalo” hit home with lines like “No more buffalo, blue skies or open road” which is so true in the tear it down concrete world we live in. Epic newbie, ”Carlisle’s Haul”, envoked lines like: “Crabbin’ and fishin’ hangin’ on to a pot to piss in” brought home true life story of some of my buds in the gulf coast area making their livings doing that exact thing.

This off the wall Austin sumbitch has a raw and real take on life seen thru his bizarre eyes and his ability to get in your head and make you think is very cool to see live. You can tell the man does not really give a rat’s ass what you think, but is anything but a jerk about it. Hell, he even said : ”Making money on records doesn’t happen much any more. You need to put out new albums to get people’s attention and hope you get booked. You can find my new CD at Cactus or Amazon, but I won’t see a nickel from it…..” James McMurtry has earned his cred as one of the best American songwriters and it seems to come so easy to him just talking about life as it passes before him. Maybe the best lines of the night were left for the end before he rocked out “Peter Pan” and left like Johnny Ramone thru the kitchen with zero encore.

“Remember to tip your waiter starting at 20%. Be careful driving home, but if you get pulled over make sure to be nice to the cop. Even if he’s a dick”.

Some how that seems like the making of yet another classic song down the road…SUPPORT live music please!