McMurtry on the front line


1 fév. 2009, 17h19m

Fri 30 Jan – James McMurtry

I only recently got into James McMurtry (about 4 months ago) after listening to Just Us Kids and subsequently Childish Things. Gigs by American roots artists in Belgium seem to be at a low ebb lately so I just had to be at the 4AD club, Diksmuide for this one.

From my point of view it had a bit of a strange feel this gig, not necessarily in a negative way. No disrespect to this fine venue or the inhabitants but Diksmiude is a quiet little place, nothing of any note goes on there. It's a small town steeped in agriculture, it's main claim to fame being that it was situated on the front line and was completely destroyed by artillery bombardment during WWI. In fact the venue is probably situated where the trenches were 90 or so years ago, even the rehearsal studios next door are clad in sandbags. So it seemed a bit strange seeing one of Americana music's heavy hitters on his debut European tour in such a quiet location, with about a 100 in attendance and with Ian McLagan in know, that geezer from The(Small)Faces!!

James is a man of few words outside the songs, there were polite thank yous between numbers but very little introductions to the songs except for "We Can't Make It Here" ..."hopefully we won't need this song much longer". McMurtry just oozes a certain attitude and just looks the part with his trademark spectacles and hat. We had a pretty long set too at around an hour 50mins till ten to midnight. Personal highlights for me were the superb Hurricane Party and of coarse the aforementioned and monumental "We Can't Make It Here" No "Cheney's Toy" though but hey ho, a fantastic set of superb song material in my opinion.

Also a really good set from support Jon Dee Graham a man of laconic humour who was quite funny between numbers. During an early acoustic number a phone rang, Graham stopped singing as asked "if they would like to get that, maybe it's the doctor"...apparently it was McLagan who had got lost in the town and someone was dispatched to pick him up. Shortly after he appeared from behind the curtain with the rest of the Heartless Bastards to accompany Graham for the last few songs and his set really came to life, terrific riffy material of only two or three chords but it really kicked ass...a good set!

Got my stuff signed by James and had to wait awhile for Ian McLagan who signed my Faces (five guys) box set and other peoples LPs. He was polite, really chatty and down to earth, a terrific bloke. All in all a damn good evening.

Feb 5th

Just thought I would put this piece of video footage on-line of James McMurtry doing a solo spot of the superb song 'Ruby and Carlos'. I should be upgrading to better equipment this year so hopefully the quality of my vids will improve.


  • marybeth-damico

    Hey, I just got into James McMurtry myself. I love his "Just Us Kids", which I have had for just a few weeks. He really can sketch out a story. I was sorry to miss him on his way through Europe, though. A musician friend in Texas tells me he is a bit shy....perhaps that explains his quietness?

    1 fév. 2009, 21h26m
  • PhilBe

    I'd more or less came to that conclusion myself Marybeth. I certainly didn't mean it as a criticism as he was polite, thanked everybody for coming out and introduced his band ect . He is a fantastic songwriter and the show really rocked. Even his sound man Tim played on-stage and he was a superb guitarist. I'd go and see him again tomorrow!

    1 fév. 2009, 22h40m
  • marybeth-damico

    I really have to revise my best of 2008 list to add his album. And I need to get "Childish Things" ASAP!

    6 fév. 2009, 8h08m
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