20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH
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James McMurtry recently signed with the burgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.”
Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.”
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 four Americana Music Award nominations. 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 its Song of the Year.
Of course, the forthcoming (and as-yet-untitled) record will include the literate story songs longtime enthusiasts expect. Recall high watermarks: “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Levelland,” “Out Here in the Middle,” “Peter Pan” only begin the list. Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorite live staples like “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” His finest deliver equal measures depth and breadth and pierce hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary (“Fireline Road”).
“James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation” —Stephen King