James McMurtry is the Antidote to Bureaucrats and Boring Songwriters

Categories: Last Night

Christian McPhate
Legend has it that Stephen King once called James McMurtry: "The truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation."

Taking the stage this weekend at the Granada Theater in Dallas, McMurtry proved that he deserves such a title, as the Texas songwriter took fans deep into the heart of the Lone Star State, playing some of his greatest hits that highlight what it means to live in rural America: fishing, drinking and dancing.

See also: Ten Best Texas Country Songs of 2013 (So Far)

Born in Fort Worth, raised in Virginia, living in Austin, McMurtry picked up guitar after guitar, alternating between electrics and acoustics, as he inspired a crowd of 200 people to move their legs while standing in place, although a few of the more wild attendees spun and danced in front of the stage.

Similar to his father Larry McMurtry, who is an award-winning, best-selling author - Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment - this Texas songwriter's lyrics tell stories of everyday life. Songs like "Choctaw Bingo," one of his more popular tunes; "We Can't Make It Here," Americana Music Awards' Song of the Year; and "Too Long In the Wasteland," a tune off his debut album, proved to be crowd pleasers.

And yet an awkwardness permeated in the atmosphere, almost as if the venue - despite its openness, helpful staff and drink specials - wasn't the right place for a man of McMurtry's Southern talents. Most of the concert attendees were wearing sandals, flip-flops and tennis shoes instead of scuffed cowboy boots; the hardness of living a rural life was missing.

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