James McMurtry: American rock and folk-rock/americana singer-songwriter and guitarist (1962-)
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James McMurtry
American rock and folk-rock/americana singer-songwriter and guitarist

James McMurtry

James McMurtry
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American rock and folk-rock/americana singer-songwriter and guitarist
Is Musician Composer Singer Songwriter Guitarist Actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 18 March 1962, Fort Worth
Age 61 years
Star sign Pisces
Father: Larry McMurtry
The details (from wikipedia)


James McMurtry (born March 18, 1962, Fort Worth, Texas) is an American rock and folk rock/americana singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader, and occasional actor (Daisy Miller, Lonesome Dove, and narrator of Ghost Town: 24 Hours in Terlingua). He performs with veteran bandmates Daren Hess, Cornbread, and Tim Holt.
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."


McMurtry spent the first seven years of his boyhood in Ft. Worth but 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, he 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 writer's nights and open mics.

In 1987 McMurtry's career entered an upswing. A friend in San Antonio suggested McMurtry enter the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk songwriter contest; he became one of six winners that year. Also around this time John Mellencamp was starring in a film based on a script by McMurtry's father, which gave McMurtry 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 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. "Choctaw Bingo," one of McMurtry's most popular songs, is featured on both St. Mary of the Woods and Live in Aught-Three.

In 2005, McMurtry released his first studio album in three years. Childish Things again received high critical praise, winning the song and album of the year at the 5th Annual Americana Music 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. The music critic Robert Christgau ranked "We Can't Make It Here" as the best song of the 2000s.

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.

In November 2014, McMurtry announced that his new album Complicated Game will be available on February 24, 2015, on an L.A. record label, also named Complicated Game.

Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins, released in late 2015 on Austin-based Eight 30 Records, includes McMurtry's take on the late busker's song "Big Things." Additionally, Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay, released in early 2016 (also on Eight 30 Records), features McMurtry's version of Finlay's "Comfort's Just a Rifle Shot Away."

McMurtry also contributed his rendition of Adam Carroll's "Screen Door" to Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll (Eight 30 Records, 2016).

McMurtry currently resides in Austin, Texas. When in Austin, McMurtry and The Heartless Bastards play a midnight set at The Continental Club on Wednesday nights. He is usually preceded by another Austin roots rock legend, Jon Dee Graham. McMurtry's son, Curtis, is a singer-songwriter in his own right and has performed with his father.



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US US Heat US Indie US Country US Folk US Rock
1989 Too Long in the Wasteland 125 Columbia
1992 Candyland
1995 Where'd You Hide the Body
1997 It Had to Happen Sugar Hill
1998 Walk Between the Raindrops
2002 Saint Mary of the Woods
2004 Live in Aught-Three Compadre
2005 Childish Things 28 40 47
2007 Best of the Sugar Hill Years Sugar Hill
2008 Just Us Kids 136 2 18 Lightning Rod
2009 Live in Europe 24
2015 Complicated Game 102 1 9 4 18 Complicated Game


Year Single Peak positions Album
Main. Rock
1989 "Painting By Numbers" 33 Too Long in the Wasteland

Guest singles

Year Single Artist Peak positions Album
US Country
1992 "Sweet Suzanne" Buzzin' Cousins 68 Falling from Grace soundtrack

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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