James McMurtry Can Make It Here

Photo by Peter Vonder Haar
RO: The last time we talked, you had just gotten back from Austin after going up to Cindy Sheehan's camp outside the Presidential compound in Crawford. Do you stay in touch with her?

JM: I never actually met her. I got involved with that whole thing through Veterans For Peace. I met some of those guys and they asked me to play at a convention they had. Cindy spoke there and I was very impressed with what she had to say and what she was trying to do, so that's how I got involved. That's one angle the press never got right, and I think if there had been more stress on the involvement of the Veterans For Peace at Crawford, if the press had really picked up on that angle, it would've been much more powerful. Those guys sent a whole platoon down to Crawford to support her and run that camp. The press completely whiffed on that.

RO: It seems like it's time for a new studio album. Will you be going for the political angle again?

JM: I'm sure there will be some of that. But it's been almost four years since that last batch of new songs and everything has changed since then. But, yeah, it is time for a new album.

RO: What do you mean, everything has changed?

JM: In 2008, you put out a new album so you could tour. Now you tour so you can make another album. Record sales are a continually shrinking part of what it takes to make a music career viable today versus four years ago.

RO: One final question out of left field: What is your favorite Larry McMurtry book?

JM: Duane's Depressed.

RO: Yeah, that's one of my favorites too, although I'd also have to say Leaving Cheyenne and Cadillac Jack.

JM: Cheyenne is certainly a standout in his early work, but Duane's Depressed is still the one for me. It's just about perfect. Dad said he knew right from the start that one was just going to work. He said it was like knowing you were going to hit a homerun before you'd even stepped in the batter's box.

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I adored the first album of his I owned, "Too Long In The Wasteland" - I need to find and or buy that one again. 


James McMurtry is America's greatest living songwriter.Why he has developed such a large douchey-fratboy component to his fanbase is harder to figure out.


"Too Long In the Wasteland" is one monster album as well as songwriting achievement. Another one I like that doesn't get all that much mention is "Saint Mary of the Woods."

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