Wednesday 23 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Stranger than fiction

Stranger than fiction

Americana singer-songwriter James McMurtry has amassed a cult following over the years, largely on the heels of his twisted literary chops.

Kevin Pickard June 18th, 2014

James McMurtry

8 p.m. Wednesday, June 18

The Blue Door

2805 N. McKinley Ave.



It has been six years since James McMurtry released his last album, Just Us Kids. However, after signing to a new label, Complicated Game, and spending multiple sessions in a studio in New Orleans working with producer C.C. Adcock, his new album is set for release on October 28.

The recording process for the new record was different than usual for McMurtry.

“We’ll come in for a week or so and do some work and go off and tour some more, because really, the only money in the music business right now is [in] touring,” McMurtry said. “So we haven’t been able to just go in and spend six weeks in the studio like we used to in the old days.”

McMurtry’s father is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. His mother was an English teacher. Given that he was raised in a household burgeoning with creativity, it seems that he could have chosen any number of outlets for his creativity. Why music, specifically?

“Because I listened to it,” he said. “I didn’t read much, so it wasn’t natural for me to be a prose writer. But I listened to a lot of music growing up, so it seemed natural to be a musician.”

Maybe he didn’t read much, but his songs have a literary quality that few other songwriters can channel. Fiction writer Stephen King said McMurtry “may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” and if you pay attention to the lyrics in “Choctaw Bingo,” perhaps his most famous song, you realize that King’s assessment is devoid of hyperbole.

The music for “Choctaw Bingo” is, as McMurtry described, an “up-tempo, rockin’ shuffle,” which masks the weird, almost sinister lyrics underneath. The song tosses off casual references to incest, cooking meth and spiking your kids’ Cherry Coke with vodka (an efficient way to quiet them down for a long car ride, apparently). It’s full of sarcasm about its characters and the glamorization of the South so prevalent in country music. But do people notice its critique of that way of life?

“We get a lot of dancing for that one,” McMurtry said.

In previous interviews, McMurtry has talked about how mainstream country music sells a particular type of fiction, and while he also is selling a fiction in his music, his is darker and more twisted. As a Southern writer, he falls into the tradition of others like William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor.

“[Writing like this is] more believable than happy songs,” he said. “And I guess part of songwriting is working stuff out — it’s working out pain and whatever else.”

His new album will be different than his previous two releases, both because this one will not feature political songs — for which he has become known — and also because it is more acoustic-based. You’ll just have to wait and see what kind of twisted fictions are in store.

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