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James McMurtry’s Songs Stole 6 Years of My Life


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James McMurtry Red Deer October 11

I started listening to James McMurtry about 6 years ago. My good friend Dale was visiting me from Scottsdale and after a few late night pops and a few good sessions of “Hey have you heard of this band? Or this songwriter?”, Dale asked whether I had heard of James McMurtry, the “son of the guy who wrote Lonesome Dove?” And with that I began a six-year deep dive into the man I now refer to as “my favourite songwriter”.


“Live in Aught-3” was my first exposure. Released in 2004 and consumed by me starting in about ’09, it immediately became a staple in my life. It covered a lot of ground. American politics, addiction, incest, broken marriages, obsessive behavior, stalking, guns, and a romp through the “Texas Oklahoma Crystal Meth Industry” called Choctaw Bingo.


I’m pretty visual. I like songs that can paint a picture, or create a movie in my head. McMurtry is the IMAX of visual storytellers – not one better for my money.

I was fortunate to see him twice in Edmonton in the past few years, the last time at a small club downtown called the Artery, now gone. It was August, sunny, 32 degrees. It was tiny, hot, sweaty, loud, and the best musical experience I’ve ever had. What blew me away was that he drove from Montana just to play this tiny little club in Edmonton and about 5 days later was back playing his Wednesday night gig at a local club in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

McMurtry’s new album Complicated Game continues a tradition of craft that is seldom seen or heard.  If you like the quality of an IMAX movie or the taste of a fine single malt scotch, then you owe yourself this night out in Red Deer.

James McMurtry is at the Hideout in Red Deer on October 11th and I’m pretty excited to see him again.

Lloyd Lewis

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Director Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) musician, photographer, former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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