AUSTIN, Texas: James McMurtry spins stories with a poet’s pen (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”). Proof: The acclaimed songwriter’s new Complicated Game. McMurtry’s first collection in six years spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from political toward personal (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtry says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman. I never make a conscious decision about what to write about.”
Complicated Game delivers McMurtry’s trademark story songs time and again (“Copper Canteen,” “Deaver’s Crossing”), but the record brings a new (and certainly no less energetic) sonic approach. First, recall blistering beats and gnashing guitars from his magnum opus Just Us Kids (2008). Now, unplug. “The label head wanted more acoustic,” McMurtry explains. “We built everything as we went so we ended up with more acoustic guitar as we went. We just played whatever sounded right for a given song, but we weren’t necessarily saying this is an acoustic record.”
Exhibit A: “How’m I Gonna Find You Now.” The record’s lead single boasts buoyant banjos and driving drums as endlessly energetic as anything electrified. Whiplash vocals further frenzy the beat. “I've got a cup of black coffee so I don't get lazy/I've got a rattle in the dashboard driving me crazy,” McMurtry effectively raps. “If I hit it with my fist, it’ll quit for a little while/Gonna have to stop to smoke in another mile/Headed into town gonna meet you at the mercantile/Take you to the Sonic get you grinning like a crocodile.”
Such vibrant vignettes consistently turn heads. They have for a quarter century now. Clearly, he’s only improving with time. “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.” “James writes like he's lived a lifetime,” echoes iconic roots rocker John Mellencamp. Yes. Spin “South Dakota.” You’ll hear.
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.”
They wear white shirts and black suspenders, black pants and travellers’ hats. They sing about murderous, estranged spouses and runaway lover cousins in a boot-stomping acoustic configuration that includes banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar, some whistles, hoots and hollerin’, and finger snappin’. Sometimes their fans dress up like them too and dance and sing the night away – but that’s not mandatory.
The Dead South is a four-piece acoustic ensemble based in Regina, Saskatchewan. With Nate Hilts' gritty vocals and aggressive guitar strumming, Scott Pringle's soaring harmonies and mandolin chops, Eliza Doyle's blazing banjo licks and steady kick drum, and Danny Kenyon's prominent cello melodies, The Dead South blends elements of folk, bluegrass, classical, and rock which results in a unique, modern, and authentic blend of boot-stompin' acoustic music.
Tom Rush’s impact on the American music scene has been profound. He helped shape the folk revival in the ’60s and the renaissance of the ’80s and ’90s, his music having left its stamp on generations of artists. James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty and Garth Brooks have cited Tom as major influences. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor. Subsequently, his Club 47 concerts brought attention to emerging artists such as Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin.
Tom is now celebrating his 52nd year on stage and in the studio, still doing what audiences love him for: writing and playing …passionately, tenderly…knitting together the musical traditions and talents of our times.
15 WORLD FAMOUS BEATLES TRIBUTE MUSICIANS COME TOGETHER FOR A THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION OF FAB FOUR FAVORITES
The Newbees have a passion for the music of the Beatles. They have the ticket stubs and record collections to prove it. They do it for the love of the greatest popular music of all time.
For over a decade, The Newbees have been performing at festivals, corporate and private events all over the United States and abroad, delivering exuberant performances rivaling that of the Fab Four themselves.
With exceptional musicianship and knowledge of The Beatles catalog, The Newbees have created a unique and powerful Beatles celebration.
This Thanksgiving they present "Here Comes the Sun", a concert inspired by the Beatles' extensive use of the lyric “sun” in their compositions. The Newbees and their orchestral partners The Bee-Strings and Horn-Its take you on a psychedelic audio trip utilizing every Beatles songs that references the sun. Intoxicating, beautiful and fun, this one-of-a-kind concert is not to be missed.
Joy recently recorded her forthcoming solo album, Front Porch, produced by Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids. Following the recent birth of her second child, Joy is slowly and steadily bringing the front porch to cities around the US and Canada in advance of the album’s imminent release in 2019.