Sign In
Forgot Password?  

James McMurtry


Celebrated tunesmith plans tour stops in several major markets including Denver, Reno, Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh on two-month run

AUSTIN, Texas — James McMurtry’s extensive “Back At It” summer tour kicks off during St. Louis’ Twangfest (June 8) and zigzags across North America before wrapping up in Maryville, Tenn. (July 23). Major markets include Denver, Reno, Salt Lake City as well as Midwest and East Coast stops in Indianapolis, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. “June could be hot in Austin what with the unexpected acceleration in climate change,” McMurtry says. “Time to tour, I say. Back before Napster and Spotify, we toured to promote record sales. Now we make records to promote tour dates.”

Clearly, the sea change has only inspired the singular songwriter. Witness Complicated Game. McMurtry’s first album in six years has garnered universal acclaim. “At a stage where most veteran musicians fall into a groove or rut, McMurtry continues to surprise,” Texas Music magazine recently noted. “[Complicated Game] is a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.”

Indeed, McMurtry’s latest collection spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from the political toward the personal (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” the longtime Austin resident says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman.” Either way, McMurtry spins his stories with a poet’s pen (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”) throughout.

Folks notice Complicated Game delivering McMurtry’s trademark story songs time and again (“Copper Canteen,” “Deaver’s Crossing”). “[McMurtry] takes listeners on a road trip of unprecedented geographic and emotional scope,” No Depression raves. “Lyrically, the album is wise and adventurous, with McMurtry – who’s not prone to autobiographical tales – credibly inhabiting characters from all walks of life.” “Fuses wry, literate observations about the world with the snarl of barroom rock,” National Public Radio (NPR) echoes. “The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.”

Longtime fans know McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have turned heads for a quarter century now. “James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth and these days he’s working at the top of his game,” says Americana all-star Jason Isbell. “He has that rare gift of being able to make a listener laugh out loud at one line and choke up at the next. I don’t think anybody writes better lyrics.” (Yes. Spin “South Dakota.” You’ll hear.) “They took their time with this one,” Texas Music magazine notes, “and it was well worth it. He’s always been wise beyond his age, but middle age suits him well.”

Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched three Americana Music Award nominations (including Artist of the Year). Meanwhile, Childish Things scored endless critical praise and spent six full weeks topping the Americana Music Radio chart in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Childish Things won the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year and “We Can’t Make It Here” was named the rapidly rising organization’s Song of the Year.

Of course, Complicated Game doubles down on literate storytelling longtime enthusiasts expect. Recall high watermarks past: “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Peter Pan,” “Levelland,” and “Out Here in the Middle” only begin the list. (Yes, Robert Earl Keen covered those last two, “Levelland” remaining a live staple.) Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorites “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” “Fireline Road” delivers equal measures depth and breadth and pierces hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary.

McMurtry’s critically lauded first album Too Long in the Wasteland (1989) was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for Long Form Music Video for Where’d You Hide the Body. Additionally, It Had to Happen (1997) received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album.

In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records. Next, the critically acclaimed Childish Things spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006, winning the Americana Music Award for Album of the Year while the cut “We Can’t Make It Here” won Song of the Year. McMurtry received more AMA nominations for 2008’s Just Us Kids. That album marked his highest Billboard 200 chart position in more than nearly two decades.

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 (The Faces) and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, Skunks). Also, for the first time ever, video of the band’s live performance is available on the included DVD.

The poignant lyrics of McMurtry’s 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 wrote that it “has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth.”

McMurtry tours year round and consistently throws down unparalleled powerhouse performances. The Washington Post notes, “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 … serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band.”


Publicity: Cary Baker, Conqueroo,, (323) 656-1600

Management and radio: Jenni Finlay,, (512) 787-8968

Videos & Press
  • Get More:

  • James McMurtry’s Hard Truths From the Heartland

    [Rolling Stone] A veteran singer-songwriter makes an excellent album about fending off despair Last year, a promotional billboard went up in James McMurtry’s hometown of Austin that dubbed him “the most disinterested man in the world,” after the popular Dos Equis beer ad. It’s a distinction he’s more than earned, thanks to his deadpan, just-the-facts […]

  • Hear James McMurtry’s New Americana Masterpiece ‘Complicated Game’

    [Rolling Stone] The album is the celebrated singer-songwriter’s first studio release in six years By Joseph Hudak There’s a one-liner that Americana singer-songwriter James McMurtry is fond of delivering onstage — at the core, musicians are really just glorified beer salesmen. “We’re basically the service industry. We’re symbiotically tied to the club business. Beer sales […]

  • These Things I’ve Come to Know: A week in the life of James McMurtry

    [Austin Chronicle] By Jim Caligiuri James McMurtry makes up stories and sets them to music. New album Complicated Game, his first studio album since 2008’s Just Us Kids, breaks fresh ground sonically and finds the 52-year-old Austinite digging deeper than ever into relationships and the human condition. After a week of local shows, we met. […]

  • James McMurtry Releases ‘Complicated Game,’ His First Studio Album in Six Years

    Celebrated tunesmith’s highly anticipated record, due February 24, 2015, an elegant collection “mostly about relationships” and “the big old world” AUSTIN, Texas — James McMurtry spins stories with a poet’s pen (“Long Island Shores”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”). Proof: The acclaimed songwriter’s new Complicated Game. McMurtry’s first collection in six years spotlights […]

  • The Most Disinterested Man in the World….Check out James McMurtry’s Billboard

  • James McMurtry Live At City Winery, New York City

    [American Songwriter] by Jonathan Bernstein For a quick moment on Saturday night at the City Winery in New York, James McMurtry smiled. He chuckled as he took a second to get the beginning right to “These Things I’ve Come To Know,” the last of four new songs debuted during his generous solo set. But perhaps McMurtry […]

  • 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 […]

Offer Form

Required information is noted with “*”. If you can provide the additional information requested, we would be grateful.

NOTE: If you are making an offer at the request of one of the agents in the High Road office, please state this in the “Additional notes” area, along with the name of the agent.

Buyer Info

Show Info

Note: If you do not have a specific date in mind, please write "mutually agreeable date" in the box above.

All ages | 18+ | 21+ | Other

Venue Info

Offer Terms & Budget


Artist | House


Production Contact