James McMurtry’s debut album, “Too Long In The Wasteland,” came out in August of 1989. After hearing “Painting By Numbers,” “Talkin’ At The Texaco” and the title song on the radio, I soon added a copy of this intriguing singer/songwriter/guitarist’s record to my collection.
I’m a bit ashamed to admit that as much as I enjoyed “Too Long In The Wasteland,” I kind of lost track of James McMurtry until this past Spring. In May, my beloved Prescott Park Arts Festival in near-by Portsmouth, NH released their 2016 schedule and James McMurtry was booked as part of their River House Restaurant Concert Series. I immediately marked the Thursday, September 1st date on my calendar and began doing some research.
I soon discovered that McMurtry was touring in support of his most recent (February, 2015) and highly acclaimed album, “Complicated Game.” After a visit to the iTunes store, three of the songs from the album were getting frequent plays on my iPod, especially the album’s first track, “Copper Canteen.”
Now, I’m a sucker for a country waltz with a descending bass line, so McMurtry had my attention at the intro. But when he sang the first line, I was completely hooked.
Give a listen for yourself.
That song is definitely going to be on my list of the “Best of 2016.”
I did go to see James McMurtry and his band perform at Prescott Park on September 1st. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of exceptionally fine songs played by a four-piece, down-to-business band of road warrior musicians. The setlist included several songs from the new album (including “Copper Canteen”) and even “Painting By Numbers” from his first. I picked up a CD copy of “Complicated Game” at the merchandise booth after the show and was lucky enough to be able to get James to autograph it!
I’ve made a promise to myself to not lose track of James McMurtry again.