FOR THE novelist Stephen King, Texan James McMurtry is "the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation"; for the BBC's Bob Harris he is "the most vital lyricist in America today"; while The Monkee's Mike Nesmith calls him, "a true Americana poet".
McMurtry is coming to Galway to play The Loft, at Seven, Bridge Street, on Friday January 27, to sing songs of what The Village Voice calls "Texastentialist panorama of gray-sky lucidity and neon highway jungles".
The singer-songwriter is currently on tour, and he wryly notes of the experience, “Back before Napster and Spotify, we toured to promote record sales. Now we make records to promote tour dates.”
His most recent album is 2015's Complicated Game, an album he says is "mostly about relationships. It’s also a little about the big old world versus the poor little farmer or fisherman." The album follows Just Us Kids (2008 ) and Childish Things (2005 ). Solo artist and former Drive-By-Truckers man Jason Isbell has said of McMurtry's work:
“James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth and these days he’s working at the top of his game. 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.”
While his lyrics draw keen attention, The Washington Post, said there is also a brilliant musician at work. “Much attention is paid to James McMurtry’s lyrics and rightfully so," the paper said. "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.”