James McMurtry

James McMurtry

James McMurtry (born March 18, 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas) is a Texas Rock music singer-songwriter, and occasional actor ("Daisy Miller", "Lonesome Dove").

His father, novelist Larry McMurtry, gave him his first guitar at age seven. His mother, an English professor, taught him how to play it: "My mother taught me three chords and the rest I just stole as I went along. I learned everything by ear or by watching people."


James was raised mostly in Leesburg, Virginia. He attended the Woodberry Forest School, Orange, Virginia. He began performing in his teens, writing bits and pieces. He started performing his own songs at a downtown beer garden while studying English and Spanish at the University of Arizona in Tucson. After traveling to Alaska and playing a few gigs, James returned to Texas and his father's "little bitty ranch house crammed with 10,000 books". After a time, he left for San Antonio, where he worked as a house painter, actor, bartender, and sometimes singer, performing at writers nights and open mics.

In 1987, a friend in San Antonio suggested he enter the New Folk songwriter contest. He was one of six winners that year. John Mellencamp was starring in a film based on a script by James's father, which gave James the opportunity to get a demo tape to Mellencamp. Mellencamp subsequently served as co-producer on McMurtry's 1989 debut album, "Too Long in the Wasteland". McMurtry also appeared on the soundtrack of the film "Falling from Grace", working with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam in a "supergroup" called Buzzin' Cousins.

McMurtry released follow-up albums in "Candyland" (1992) and "Where'd You Hide the Body" (1995). "Walk Between the Raindrops" followed in 1998 and 2002 brought "St. Mary of the Woods". In April 2004, McMurtry released a tour album called "Live In Aught-Three".

In 2005, McMurtry released his first studio album in 3 years. "Childish Things" again received high critical praise, culminating in him winning the song and album of the year at the 5th Annual Americana Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. The album was perhaps McMurtry at his most political, as his working-class anthem "We Can't Make It Here" included direct criticism of George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and Wal-Mart.

McMurtry released his follow up album to "Childish Things" in April 2008. "Just Us Kids" continued with the previous album's political themes and included the song "Cheney's Toy", McMurtry's most direct criticism of George W. Bush so far. Like "We Can't Make It Here" from the previous album, "Cheney's Toy" was made available as a free Internet download.

James McMurtry currently resides in Austin, Texas. Each Wednesday night that he is in Austin, McMurtry plays a midnight set at the Continental Club. He's usually preceded by another Austin roots rock legend, Jon Dee Graham.


* "Too Long in the Wasteland" (1989)
* "Candyland" (1992)
* "Where'd You Hide the Body" (1995)
* "It Had to Happen" (1997)
* "Walk Between the Raindrops" (1998)
* "Saint Mary of the Woods" (2002)
* "Live in Aught-Three" (2004)
* "Childish Things" (2005)
* "Best of the Sugar Hill Years" (2007)
* "Just Us Kids" (2008)

External links

* [http://www.jamesmcmurtry.com Official site]
* [http://www.hobotrashcan.com/interviews/jamesmcmurtry.php One on One with James McMurtry]
* [http://www.corporatecountrysucks.com Interview and Live Performance on Chicago TV show "Corporate Country Sucks"]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5373838.stm BBC News: Rocker Young wins Americana award]


* [ Video of James McMurtry]

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