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McMurtry depicts the American way of
life with biting realism

James McMurtry
Club Congress
Tucson, AZ
November 3, 2016
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Review and photos by Frances Sealy

James McMurtry's packed Club Congress with tried and true adoring fans. McMurtry writes songs that are so good and exemplifies Americana better than most songwriters today. Add some hard driving guitars and a groovy beat and the evening was a dream for the die-hard fans that attended.

Mr. McMurtry brought his band with him on this tour. They are 'Cornbread' on bass, Darren Hess on drums, and Tim Holt on lead guitar and accordion. The band fits McMurtry like a glove anticipating his every move, putting in the right licks exactly at the right time.

They rapidly moved from one song to the next with very little banter by Mr. McMurtry. He was clean-shaven, sporting a loose shirt, jeans, and fedora hat for this show. Later in the set, he mentioned that he lived in Tucson in the past, but he didn't dwell on that. There was the shameless promotion of his merchandise across the room. But again, he didn't dwell on it.

The show was about the music. Songs selected for this show were mostly older selections except for four songs from his latest album, Complicated Game. "Copper Canteen" seemed to be the epic song from the new album performed. Other intense songs in the set were "Choctaw Bingo" and "Lights of Cheyenne."

McMurtry's lyrics are razor sharp and vivid. One can compare him to Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury, Jason Isbell, and Bruce Springsteen. From this list, McMurtry and Isbell are two writers that are still churning out great songs depicting the American way of life with biting realism.

McMurtry embarks on an acoustic tour with Anders Osborne for the month of November.
Set List:
1. Bayou Tortous
2. Red Dress
3. What's the Matter Now?
4. Just Us Kids
5. How Am I Going To Find You Now?
6. Copper Canteen
7. You Got to Me
8. Ain't Got a Place
9. Choctaw Bingo
10. These Things I've Come to Know
11. Painting by Numbers
12. Every Little Bit Counts
13. Childish Things
14. For All I Know
15. Restless
16. Levelland
17. Too Long in the Wasteland

18.Lights of Cheyenne

Related articles:

James McMurtry - Concert review - Chicago, IL March 2014
James McMurtry / The Gourds - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI November 2012
James McMurtry / Dana Erlandson - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI March 2012

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