Saturday To-Do: James McMurtry | Rock Candy

Saturday To-Do: James McMurtry

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JAMES MCMURTRY
9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $12.

Nepotism makes the world go 'round, and Texas' James McMurtry would probably be the first to admit that his famous novelist/screenwriter father, Larry, helped him get a toehold in the business. But it certainly hasn't been his family name that's made him one of the most vital lyricists in contemporary songwriting. Over the course of nearly two decades of recording and touring, the long-haired, bespectacled musician's built a sturdy career on the strength of detail-driven story songs, full of mordant wit and, more often than not, a sense of barely concealed rage. He's used his nondescript voice, most often in Texas-style talkin' blues, to celebrate the downtrodden and rail against their oppressors. Writing in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called McMurtry's 2004 song “We Can't Make It Here” (“Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store / Just like the ones we made before / 'Cept this one came from Singapore / I guess we can't make it here anymore”) the “best American protest song since ‘Masters of War.' “ The concert's open to ages 18 and older.

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