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James McMurtry at the Magic Bag, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2017

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James McMurtry entered the music world nearly 30 years ago, making headlines as the son of novelist Larry McMurtry. But after 10 albums and plenty of critical acclaim, there’s no question he’s his own man now.

The Fort Worth-born singer-songwriter is perpetually on the road, with his most recent album, “Complicated Game,” out since 2015. He combines rich narrative with pointed commentary, whether performing on his own or with a full band, or even with his son, Curtis, a musician in his own right...

• Although he’s created a large body of recorded work, McMurtry, 55, still prefers playing live. “That’s what I’m here to do,” he explains by phone. “I’m more comfortable on stage than in the studio. I don’t mind the driving, although I’m getting to where I mind the loading. If I could afford a crew that would be a great thing, but right now we are band and crew.”

• McMurtry hasn’t hit the studio yet for a new album, but with “Complicated Game” out more than two years now, he’s already working towards it. “I’ve got scraps (of ideas) on my iPhone; That’s what I’ve been starting with lately. Then I’ll have to write them and teach them to do the band and then find some financing and go in and do it. If you talk to my booking agent he’ll say ‘You can make another record but that’s gonna take you away from your live (shows). And if you talk to my publicist he’ll say, ‘Get another record out! They need something new to write about yesterday!’”

• McMurtry says his main goal above all else is to maintain a career in music, even after three decades of doing it. “It’s really all fear-based -- fear of not having a job,” he explains. “As the record business has turned upside down, the only money for most of us is on the road unless you’re going to devote your whole life to getting songs placed in HBO series and commercials. You’re not gonna see mailbox money like we used to, so that means you go on the road a lot more and compete with more people who understand that as well. It’s not easy.”

If You Go:

• James McMurtry and Max Gomez

• Thursday, Nov. 9. Doors open at 8 p.m.

• The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

• Tickets are $18.

• Call 248-544-1991 or visit themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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