James McMurtry is the Antidote to Bureaucrats and Boring Songwriters
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.
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.