Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:45 PM on Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Singer-storyteller plays next week at Down East



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Singer-songwriter James McMurtry performs next Thursday, Nov. 17, in a solo concert at the Down East Saloon.

The son of novelist Larry McMurty, singer-songwriter James McMurty continues the family tradition of story telling. Instead of finely crafted prose, he uses guitar and music to tell what the Nashville City Paper called, "Songs with heart, anger, humor and depth, performed by musicians equally capable of engaging or disturbing their fans."

McMurty performs next Thursday, Nov. 17, in a solo concert at the Down East Saloon. A nonsmoking show, $2 of each $30 ticket supports Cook Inletkeeper. Tickets are on sale at the Down East Saloon and the Homer Bookstore.

His first album, "Too Long in the Wasteland," came out in 1989. In 1996 he received a Grammy nomination for Longform Music Video of "Where'd You Hide The Body?"

His 1997 album, "It Had To Happen," received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album. Other alubms include "Live in Aught-Three," "Just Us Kids" and the recent "Live in Europe."

His 2006 album "Childish Things" and song "We Can't Make it Here" won the Americana Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year. The Nation called "We Can't Make It Here" one of the "Best Protest Songs Ever," with writer Bob Lefsetz saying, "'We Can't Make It Here' has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth."

Of his singing, the Chicago Sun-Times said "It's just right for the short-story songs here. It's filled with portent and warning, like the sound of a high howling wind sweeping menacingly across the prairie. It's a voice you notice, a voice you can't ignore." The New York Times said, "James McMurtry packs a lot of story into his low-key songs: tales of loners and losers adrift in wide-open spaces. His voice is deadpan, but his characters survive grand struggles."

On his Alaska tour, McMurtry also performs Nov. 18 at Latitude 62 in Talkeetna, Nov. 19 at the Sydney Laurence Theatre at Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage and Nov. 20 at Vagabond Blues in Palmer.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.