GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Austin-based singer-songwriter James McMurtry is known for his poignant lyrics. "He creates a novel's worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets," wrote the Washington Post.McMurtry said he didn't get the novel writing gene from his famous father, Larry McMurtry, author of "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment." The younger McMurtry writes verse, while his father pens prose.However, McMurtry may have developed a "similar eye for detail, by listening to (his father) talk," he said.McMurtry's 2005 "Childish Things" album spent six weeks at number one on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, "Childish Things" and "We Can't Make it Here" won the American Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year, respectively."We Can't Make it Here" was also cited by the Nation magazine as among "the best protest songs ever," according to McMurtry's website.When asked how he goes about writing a song, McMurtry said, "I get a couple of lines and a melody, and if it's cool enough to keep me up at night I have to finish it." McMurtry is beginning a national tour in Colorado, stopping in Grand Junction for a performance at the Mesa Theater Thursday, Feb. 21. Salt Lake City Americana/folk artist Garret Williams will open the show.McMurtry said he's bringing both his six-string and 12-string guitars, and will perform solo.McMurtry's long-form music video "Where'd You Hide the Body" was nominated for a Grammy in 1996. In 1997, he received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album for "It Had to Happen." Other lauded albums include "Live in Aught-Three" on Compadre Records, and 2008's "Just Us Kids." Most recently, McMurtry was invited to perform on the new Guy Clark tribute album, "This One's for You." Special guest Williams plays with a five-piece band in Salt Lake City called Lady and Gent, a mostly acoustic group known for its harmonies. The songwriter-musician will perform solo in Grand Junction when he opens for McMurtry Thursday. He's bringing his acoustic guitar and harmonica.Williams' songs are based on real stories, personal experiences, he said. "It'll be a great match-up," he said of his upcoming show with McMurtry.To listen to his group's sound, visit ladyandgent.bandcamp.com for a free download of songs from the CD "To Death in Delta."
James McMurtry returns to Mesa Theater Feb. 21
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