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James McMurtry and Band to Perform at Blue Hill Fair

Posted April 18, 2014, at 9:25 a.m.

The Blue Hill Fair is pleased to announce that James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards will be performing at the Blue Hill Fair on Saturday, August 30, at 7:30 PM. Performing on the Grandstand Stage, the show will be free with price of Admission to the Fair. ($9.00 for Adults; Children under 12, Free)

“The simple fact is that James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation…”Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly

The son of acclaimed author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James grew up on a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records. His first album,Too Long in the Wasteland (released in 1989), was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for his Longform Music Video of Where’d You Hide The Body. 1997′s It Had To Happen received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album.

In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records. 2005′s Childish Things garnered some of the highest critical praise of McMurtry’s career and spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, Childish Things and “We Can’t Make It Here” won the Americana Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year, respectively. McMurtry received more Americana Music Award nominations for 2008′s Just Us Kids. This album marked his highest Billboard 200 chart position in more than 19 years.

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 and Jon Dee Graham. Also, for the first time ever, video of the James McMurtry Band’s live performance is available on the included DVD.

The poignant lyrics of his 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 writes, “‘We Can’t Make It Here’ has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth.”

Never one to rest on his laurels, James McMurtry continues to tour constantly, and consistently puts on a “must-see” powerhouse performance. ‘The Washington Post’ noted McMurtry’s live prowess: “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. At a sold-out Birchmere, the Austin-based artist was joined by drummer Daren Hess and bassist Ronnie Johnson in a set that demonstrated the raw power of wince-inducing imagery propelled by electric guitar. It was serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band.”

James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.”

Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.”

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 four Americana Music Award nominations. 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 its Song of the Year.

Of course, the forthcoming (and as-yet-untitled) record will include the literate story songs longtime enthusiasts expect. Recall high watermarks: “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Levelland,” “Out Here in the Middle,” “Peter Pan” only begin the list. Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorite live staples like “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” His finest deliver equal measures depth and breadth and pierce hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary (“Fireline Road”).

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