James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets
209 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL, 61701
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
"The simple fact is that James McMurtry may be
the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation…"
Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly
The son of acclaimed author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James grew up on a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records. His first album,Too Long in the Wasteland (released in 1989), was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for his Longform Music Video ofWhere'd You Hide The Body. 1997′s It Had To Happen received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album.
In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records. 2005′s Childish Things garnered some of the highest critical praise of McMurtry's career and spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, Childish Things and "We Can't Make It Here" won the Americana Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year, respectively. McMurtry received more Americana Music Award nominations for 2008′s Just Us Kids. This album marked his highest Billboard 200 chart position in more than 19 years.
In 2009, Live in Europe was released, capturing The McMurtry Band's first European tour and extraordinary live set. Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, the disc features special guests Ian McLagan and Jon Dee Graham. Also, for the first time ever, video of the James McMurtry Band's live performance is available on the included DVD.
The poignant lyrics of his immense catalog still ring true today. In 2011, "We Can't Make It Here" was cited among 'The Nation's' "Best Protest Songs Ever." Bob Lefsetz writes, "'We Can't Make It Here' has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth."
Never one to rest on his laurels, James McMurtry continues to tour constantly, and consistently puts on a "must-see" powerhouse performance. 'The Washington Post' noted McMurtry's live prowess: "Much attention is paid to James McMurtry's lyrics, and rightfully so: He creates a novel's worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he's an accomplished rock guitar player. At a sold-out Birchmere, the Austin-based artist was joined by drummer Daren Hess and bassist Ronnie Johnson in a set that demonstrated the raw power of wince-inducing imagery propelled by electric guitar. It was serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band."
JAMES McMURTRY LIVE IN EUROPE CD WITH BONUS DVD DOCUMENTS FIRST EURO TOUR WITH GUESTS IAN MCLAGAN AND JON DEE GRAHAM
On October 13, 2009, Lightning Rod Records released Live in Europe, a document of McMurtry's first European tour, on which, along with long-time band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, he was joined by keyboardist Ian McLagan and fellow Texas songwriting legend Jon Dee Graham. The set is available as a CD with a bonus DVD, or as a deluxe vinyl LP package with a CD and DVD insert. In early 2009, James McMurtry and his trio traveled overseas to play their first European tour. The guys played for enthusiastic crowds in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and Belgium. Joining the band on keyboards for the tour was the legendary Ian McLagan (who also played on McMurtry's latest studio album, Just Us Kids). The best recordings from the Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Geislingen, Germany concerts were combined to create Live in Europe. The album includes a bonus DVD featuring performances from the Amsterdam show. This marks the first time fans will be able to purchase video footage of McMurtry live in concert. The deluxe vinyl version includes inserted copies of the CD and DVD. Fellow Austin-based songwriter Jon Dee Graham opened the shows and joins the band on a version of his tune "Laredo" on the bonus DVD.
JAMES McMURTRY ALBUMS REISSUED: 'CHILDISH THINGS' & 'LIVE IN AUGHT-THREE'
On February 1, 2011, two of James McMurtry's most popular albums, Childish Things and Live in Aught-Three were reissued by Lightning Rod Records. Live in Aught-Three has been remastered since its original 2004 release and will be available on vinyl for the first time. The deluxe double LP also includes a copy of the album on CD. Less -
Videos & Press
James McMurtry and the art of the American song
[Creative Loafing] By Alec Wooden Stories — the art of telling them, anyway — have never been lost on James McMurtry. The son of acclaimed novelist Larry McMutry, the Fort-Worth born and Virginia-raised James picked up the art at a young age, trading in his father's medium (the pen) for his own (a guitar, which [...]
Video: James McMurtry – America's "Fiercest Songwriter"
[CNN.com] It's got to be tough being a well-known artist, yet still being compared to your better known dad. Singer-songwriter James McMurtry seems to take it pretty well. He is the son of author Larry McMurtry, author of "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment" to name a few. Another author, Stephen King, calls James McMurty [...]
James McMurtry's second language is music
[Knoxville News-Sentinel] By Wayne Bledsoe James McMurtry has become known as one of America's great songwriters. Stephen King has said that McMurtry, "may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation," and his songs, including best-known numbers "Choctaw Bingo," "Levelland" and "We Can't Make It Here Anymore," bear that out. However, since the release of [...]
The Bottle Rockets
In a country where interstates don’t take you to new places, but to the same places, where everywhere you go you’ve already been or you’ve just left, The Bottle Rockets’ new album absolutely nails a sound and a vibe with a palpable sense of place. Lean Forward is suffused with the determination and resilience of their distinctly midwestern roots; theirs is a celebration of pragmatism and tempered optimism, not the delusions and exhortations of glassy eyed zealots—they aren’t going to fall for that. Oh, it’s a flat out, smoking rock record, too.
Lean Forward continues the Rockets’ creative resurgence ignited by 2006’s Zoysia. Reunited with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (who ran the knobs on the Bottle Rockets’ seminal albums The Brooklyn Side and 24 Hours A Day), the Bottle Rockets do what no other band does better — look into the hearts and minds and faces of the dying small towns in America and crafts populist anthems with the sympathetic eye of Woody Guthrie and sonic stomp of Crazy Horse. They are songs that demand the windows be rolled down and the volume turned up. And with the hooks, you’ll wonder how they make such problems sound so good …
Lean Forward is stacked with a sharp lyricism and gritty fatalism that looks off the front porch for inspiration, and has the locked down groove of a band on top of its game. “The Long Way” looks on the bright side of the path not intentionally taken and works into a joyous song-ending jam. Songs like “Done It All Before” and “Get on the Bus” shine with an irresistible buoyancy, as does “Shame on Me” which gets to the meat of the relationship matter that, despite our best intentions, we’re all gonna screw up. “Hard Times” whips up a ZZ Top-inflected boogie with effortless mastery and a dual guitar attack that’ll put some much-needed flare back in your jeans.
On “Kid Next Door,” the lyrics bypass protest in favor of simple commentary on a war coming home, making it a far more powerful song no matter where one stands on the issue. It’s a stone cold classic and handled with the deftness and conviction that speaks to the Rockets’ sober-minded realism. To see that they’ve still got scruffy punk moxie to spare, look no further than “The Way It Used To Be” and the channeling of Bo Diddley via the Stooges on “Nothing but a Driver.”
With their 15th anniversary now in the rear view mirror, the Bottle Rockets show no signs of letting up. Lean Forward is an album that celebrates the forces of erosion not earthquakes, of the marathon not the sprint. Honed in their towns and on their back roads, it is distinctly the Bottle Rockets. Rather than be confining, this identity broadens the appeal and strength of their music far from their backyards into our own. Their specificity speaks universally and the message is a simple one: Lean forward, man, because it beats falling back.
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