Some major classic-rock titans have new stuff out this week, including Eric Clapton’s reunion with Slowhand producer Glyn Johns, Tom Petty’s second effort with his pre-Heartbreakers outfit, and Bob Dylan’s second take on the Great American Songbook. But we’ve also FINALLY got the new Honeycutters in on CD, not to mention some jazz-rap alchemy from […] Read More
The 2016 Record Fair on SATURDAY MAY 7th was a smashing success, and we thank you! The Sears Center and our humble Stone Ave. abode were packed solid with music lovers all day! Thanks to the Sears Center at McPherson Park, Ocha Tea, the amazing DJ’s Tavo & King Harold, and all those who came out to […] Read More
Kinda slim pickins in the New Release dept. this week, probably due to the massive, lovely chaos of Record Store Day, so we thought we’d let you know about some RSD goodies we’ve still got in stock on vinyl LP! SUPERCHUNK, Tossing Seeds (Singles 1989-91) A special Record Store Day reissue of the first full […] Read More
Modern Country is the follow-up to William Tyler‘s highly acclaimed Merge debut, Impossible Truth. Modern Country features full-band arrangements on most of the tracks, provided by Phil Cook (Hiss Golden Messenger, Blind Boys of Alabama), Darin Gray (Tweedy, Jim O’Rourke), and Glenn Kotche (Wilco). An album trailer was shared when the record was announced in April, “Gone Clear” was premiered by All Songs Considered, and “Kingdom […] Read More
They’re headed back. We’re glad. THE AVETT BROTHERS have built a following starting from their earliest, modest old-timey/punky releases to the globe-trotting Madison Square Garden-level post-modern folk-pop-roots-punk-type rock icon status they’ve now earned. See them light up the arena in downtown Greenville on October 29th with songs from their new album True Sadness, out on […] Read More
ok, its now 4 days or so since the EPIC love-fest that was #RSD16 here at our humble down south record store and i wanted to make a way too brief but intensely heartfelt LOUD THANK YOU shout out to everyone near and far who stopped in here, shopped, wished us well or just social […] Read More
Tower of Song is a series of FREE CONCERTS at Horizon Records or in our adjoining Bohemian Cafe, truly a unique listening and performing experience for artists and audience.
Our friend, the acclaimed songsmith and gnarly guitar player JAMES MCMURTRY returns to the GREY EAGLE on July 22nd! His latest release, Complicated Game, like all his releases has been an ongoing (and no doubt perennial) favorite. James & the boys aren’t stopping in Greenville this go-round, unless it’s for lunch in the The Bohemian Café on their way. So click HERE and represent at The Grey Eagle.
James McMurtry’s extensive “Back At It” summer tour kicks off during St. Louis’ Twangfest (June 8) and zigzags across North America before wrapping up in Maryville, Tenn. (July 23). Major markets include Denver, Reno, Salt Lake City as well as Midwest and East Coast stops in Indianapolis, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. “June could be hot in Austin what with the unexpected acceleration in climate change,” McMurtry says. “Time to tour, I say. Back before Napster and Spotify, we toured to promote record sales. Now we make records to promote tour dates.”
Clearly, the sea change has only inspired the singular songwriter. Witness Complicated Game. McMurtry’s first album in six years has garnered universal acclaim. “At a stage where most veteran musicians fall into a groove or rut, McMurtry continues to surprise,” Texas Music magazine recently noted. “[Complicated Game] is a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.”
Indeed, McMurtry’s latest collection spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from the political toward the personal (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” the longtime Austin resident says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman.” Either way, McMurtry spins his stories with a poet’s pen (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”) throughout.
Folks notice Complicated Game delivering McMurtry’s trademark story songs time and again (“Copper Canteen,” “Deaver’s Crossing”). “[McMurtry] takes listeners on a road trip of unprecedented geographic and emotional scope,”No Depression raves. “Lyrically, the album is wise and adventurous, with McMurtry – who’s not prone to autobiographical tales – credibly inhabiting characters from all walks of life.” “Fuses wry, literate observations about the world with the snarl of barroom rock,” National Public Radio (NPR) echoes. “The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.”
Longtime fans know McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have turned heads for a quarter century now. “James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth and these days he’s working at the top of his game,” says Americana all-star Jason Isbell. “He has that rare gift of being able to make a listener laugh out loud at one line and choke up at the next. I don’t think anybody writes better lyrics.” (Yes. Spin “South Dakota.” You’ll hear.) “They took their time with this one,” Texas Music magazine notes, “and it was well worth it. He’s always been wise beyond his age, but middle age suits him well.”
Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched three Americana Music Award nominations (including Artist of the Year). Meanwhile, Childish Things scored endless critical praise and spent six full weeks topping the Americana Music Radio chart in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Childish Things won the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year and “We Can’t Make It Here” was named the rapidly rising organization’s Song of the Year.
Of course, Complicated Game doubles down on literate storytelling longtime enthusiasts expect. Recall high watermarks past: “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Peter Pan,” “Levelland,” and “Out Here in the Middle” only begin the list. (Yes, Robert Earl Keen covered those last two, “Levelland” remaining a live staple.) Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorites “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” “Fireline Road” delivers equal measures depth and breadth and pierces hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary.
McMurtry’s critically lauded first album Too Long in the Wasteland (1989) was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for Long Form Music Video for Where’d You Hide the Body. Additionally, It Had to Happen (1997) received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album.
In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records. Next, the critically acclaimed Childish Things spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006, winning the Americana Music Award for Album of the Year while the cut “We Can’t Make It Here” won Song of the Year. McMurtry received more AMA nominations for 2008’s Just Us Kids. That album marked his highest Billboard 200chart position in more than nearly two decades.
In 2009, Live in Europe was released, capturing the McMurtry band’s first European tour and extraordinary live set. Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, the disc features special guestsIan McLagan (The Faces) and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, Skunks). Also, for the first time ever, video of the band’s live performance is available on the included DVD.
The poignant lyrics of McMurtry’s immense catalog still ring true today. In 2011, “We Can’t Make It Here” was cited among The Nation’s “Best Protest Songs Ever.” Bob Lefsetz wrote that it “has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth.”
McMurtry tours year round and consistently throws down unparalleled powerhouse performances. The Washington Post notes, “Much attention is paid to James McMurtry’s lyrics and rightfully so: He creates a novel’s worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he’s an accomplished rock guitar player … serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band.”
James’ amazing catalog of crucial unfiltered roots-Americana rockingness awaits you in the stacks at Horizon!