Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Texas singer/songwriter James McMurtry, known for his hard-edged character sketches, comes from a literary family; his father, novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, gave James his first guitar at age seven, and his mother, an English professor, taught him how to play it. McMurtry began performing his own songs while a student at the University of Arizona and continued to do so after returning home and taking a job as a bartender. When it transpired that a film script McMurtry's father had written was being directed by John Mellencamp, who was also its star, McMurtry's demo tape was passed along, and Mellencamp was duly impressed, serving as co-producer on McMurtry's 1989 debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland. McMurtry also appeared on the soundtrack of the film (Falling from Grace), working with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam in a one-off supergroup called Buzzin' Cousins. McMurtry has continued to record, releasing albums in 1992 and 1995. Walk Between the Raindrops followed in 1998, and 2002 saw the release of Saint Mary of the Woods, his last for the Sugar Hill label. He signed with Compadre the following year, releasing Live in Aught-Three in 2004 and Childish Things in 2005. Just Us Kids appeared in 2008 on Lightning Rod Records, with another concert album, Live in Europe, arriving in 2009.