Music » Critics' Picks

James McMurtry

9 p.m. Thursday, September 10. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City.

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For years, James McMurtry labored behind two long shadows: that of his father, the novelist Larry McMurtry, and that of the Texas songwriting tradition, epitomized by the generation of Townes Van Zandt. He bristled at the comparisons and the obsession with his lyrical prowess, and instead devoted his attention to the electric guitar, which became his secret, obscurely tuned weapon. Then came "Choctaw Bingo" and "We Can't Make It Here," two shotgun-sprayed assaults on modern American depravity and injustice, and McMurtry found himself crowned "the poet of the people." His response is the forthcoming Live In Europe CD/DVD, a raging document of an underrated band and his guitar-playing that slays with all the withering force of his epic philippics.

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