Ajax Diner Book Club 4/27/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Jon Dee Graham “Beautifully Broken” from Not As Bad As It Looks

J. Roddy Walston & The Business “Marigold” from Essential Tremors

Blue Blood “This Is The Life” from This Is The Life

Cafeteria “Gorgeous Friend” from Knee Deep

James McMurtry “These Things I’ve Come to Know” from Complicated Game

Spirit Family Reunion “All the Way Back Home” from Hands Together

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club “No doubt about it” from Unentitled

Low Anthem “Cage The Songbird” from Oh My God Charlie Darwin

Mississippi John Hurt “I Shall Not Moved” from Best of Mississippi John Hurt

John Moreland “Cherokee” from High On Tulsa Heat

Kris Kristofferson “Me And Bobbie McGhee” from Live From Austin TX

Scott H. Biram “I’m Troubled” from Nothin’ But Blood

Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound “Just Like The Rest” from Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound

Townes Van Zandt “No Place To Fall” from Be Here To Love Me

Drag the River “Here’s to the Losers” from Drag The River

Big Mama Thornton “Cotton Picking Blues”

Supremes “Having A Party” from Sings Sam Cooke

Howlin’ Wolf “spoonful” from His Best

Patti Smith “break It Up” from Horses

Courtney Barnett “An Illustration Of Loneliness” from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Sour Boy Bitter Girl “Flowers” from The Days After The Fire

Meat Puppets “Good Golly Miss Molly” from Out My Way

Brown Bird “Sackcloth and Ash” from Axis Mundi

Elmore James “Ice Cream Man” from Blues Masters: The Best of Elmore James

Two Cow Garage “Soundtrack to My Summer” from Sweet Saint Me

Replacements “Shooting Dirty Pool” from Pleased to Meet Me

 

Ajax Diner Book Club 3/9/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

The Drams “You and Me, MF” from Jubilee Dive

Steve Earle “The Tennesse Kid” from Terraplane

James McMurtry “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” from Complicated Game

Tyler Keith  “Do It For Johnny” from Alias Kid Twist

Glossary “Everything Comes Back” from Long Live All Of Us

Maggie Bjorklund “Bottom of the Well” from Shaken

Kierston White “Big Star” from Don’t Write Love Songs

Lonesome Heroes “Long Time Coming” from Can’t Stand Still

Descendents “Bikeage” from Two Things At Once

Dwayne “Can’t Keep Up With You” from Dwayne

Guided by Voices “I Am Columbus” from Motivational Jumpsuit

Land Lines “Limb from Limb” from Natural World

JD McPherson “You Must Have Met Little Caroline” from Let the Good Times Roll

J Roddy Walston & the Business “Caroline” from J Roddy Walston & the Business

Langhorne Slim “Rebel Side of Heaven” from Langhorne Slim

James McMurtry – Complicated Game

McMurtry

James McMurtry is a true craftsman of a story song and writes with the attention to detail and precision of a master short story author. Call it a vibe, style or sound, McMurtry has his own and you know it as soon as you hear it. His sound is like Mellencamp’s but worn down and run ragged from years of hard life. On Complicated Game the music is steady but understated and works to serve the lyrics and illustrate the world within the songs.

The blue collar hardships appear almost immediately on the lead-off song, “Copper Canteen.” The story is one that’s been told before, growing up before you know it, with a hard life while others around you succeed. But it’s McMurtry’s details that make the song come to life. There’s washing blood off the tailgate and wanting to kill one more deer before the season ends. But there’s also big details like big box stores out by the highway and the misery they bring. The melody and guitar sounds match the road-weary tales and the pace of McMurtry’s voice is as steady and unrelenting as life itself.

Some of the most interesting moments on Complicated Game are when McMurtry shifts away from his traditional sound. “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” isn’t a giant departure but its boot-stomping banjo and exaggerated back beat are a welcomed addition. Later, “Forgotten Coast” almost swings like a Bob Wills song without losing the McMurtry feel.

Complicated Game is less overtly political than his most recent releases. Possibly that’s because the political climate and leadership has changed, perhaps it’s just the direction he chose to go. But these twelve songs tell tales of society and the affect it has on the individual in much the same way Chris Knight works. Autopsy IV, of Nine Bullets fame, says the album is great for people who really miss the early Lucero albums. Craig Finn, of Hold Steady fame, writes in The Talk Box that “The music is always elegant here. McMurtry is consistently honest and the songs’ characters are dignified and nuanced. He never writes down to these people or judges their situations. That’s why Complicated Game is another fantastic collection of songs by one of America’s best songwriters.” I’ll just say it’s Essential Listening.

Official Site, On Facebook, Buy Complicated Game

Ajax Diner Book Club – 3/2/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Booker T & the M.G.’s “Big Train” from Soul Dressing

Adam Faucett “Melanie” from Blind Water Finds Blind Water

The Cedar Shakes “From The Guts” from This Western Road

James McMurtry “Ain’t Got a Place” from Complicated Game

Micah Schnabel “Middle Child Complex” from Not The Boy You Used To Be

Robert Chaney “Patch It Up” from Cracked Picture Frames

Charlie Parr “Dead Cat On The Line” from Rooster

Drive-by Truckers “Grandpa Rock City” from Dragon Pants

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires “Can’t Get Right” from Arkedelphia

McDougall “Restless Friend” from McDougall

Pops Staples “Somebody Was Watching” from Don’t Lose This

The Soul Stirrers “Time Brings About A Change” from Joy In My Soul

Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People” from Anthology

The Forty Fives “Go Ahead And Shout” from High Life High Volume

Superchunk “breaking down” from I Hate Music

Sour Boy Bitter Girl “Yellow Ribbon” from The Days After The Fire

Ajax Diner Book Club – 2/23/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Charles Mingus “Boogie Stop Shuffle” from Mingus Ah Um

Alabama Shakes “Don’t Wanna Fight” from Sound & Color

Robert Chaney “Black Eyed Susan” from Cracked Picture Frames

Lone Bellow “Take My Love” from Then Came the Morning

James McMurtry “Deaver’s Crossing” from Complicated Game

Meat Puppets “Mountain Line” from Out My Way

The Clash “Police & Theives” from The Clash

Micah Schnabel “More Drugs” from Not The Boy You Used To Be

Taj Mahal “Take a Giant Step” from Giant Step

Districts “Heavy Begs” from Flourish & a Spoil