How I Write a Song: James McMurtry

In this new series for Americana UK, artists from across the genre discuss their approach to song-writing. It’s been more than 30 years now since a youthful, up-and-coming  James McMurtry first crossed paths with another, already renowned fellow Texan singer-songwriter, the late Guy Clark, at an open-mike session in Kerrville near San Antonio. Rather than proving a massively inspirational encounter, McMurtry once recalled in an interview in lonestarmusicmagazine  that his overriding memory of Clark that particular day was the “awfully gracious manner for a man who’d been forced to stand under a tree in Kerr County on a hot afternoon listening to a bunch of us young’uns try to impress him with our songs.” Continue reading “How I Write a Song: James McMurtry”

AUK’s Chain Gang: James McMurtry “Childish Things”

The most obvious connection between last week’s ‘The Town That Killed Kennedy‘ by Otis Gibbs and this week’s link in the chain is the view of the world that one gets through the window of a bus. But the title track from James McMurtry’s 2005 release – which received the AMA’s Album of the Year award in 2006 – connects to the Gibbs track on multiple levels. Both tracks address the complicated exchanges that spur a coming of age. The innocence, optimism, and energy of youth eventually sees too much and gives way to guarded wisdom and reluctant acceptance. From different perspectives and on different levels, both tracks force us to acknowledge that even while we are pursuing life, life is pursuing each of us.