James McMurtry : Just Us Kids

james_mcmurtry_just_kids.jpgThe great big state of Texas has some mighty fine exports when it comes to music.  Many of the greats from country and Americana music have come screaming out the Lone Star State. Names like Willie Nelson, Joe Ely, Billy Joe Shaver, and many more have woven the fabric of the rich Texas music history. James McMurtry is certainly one that deserves recognition. 

McMurtry has delivered time and time again with dark, dusty songs of blue-collar life and struggle, something to which most all of us can relate. On Just Us Kids, he proves that the well is still far from dry with an album of instant favorites. “Bayou Tortous” leads things off with McMurtry letting it all hang out with heavy guitar riffs and his signature grumble vocals. Then the albums title track slows things down, and tells a great story of disgust and adventure. Simple lyrics like “Had enough of this small town bullshit, Not staying in school, Making good dough working with my brother, cleaning out pools, Going out to California, Man it won’t be long, Soon as I get my license, color me gone,” are easy for any self-respecting rebel to grasp.

“God Bless America (Pat MacDonald Must Die)” could easily insight a bar fight with its anthem-like tempo and blistering guitar. McMurtry is certainly no stranger to taking shots at authority and ignorance in our government.  On “Cheney’s Toy” he lets it fly once again with a backhanded slam on the poor choices we have made as a country, and takes notice that many good young men and women are basically weapons of a rich man’s war.

There are many other gems on Just Us Kids, like the boogie piano of “Freeway View” and the slowed down “Hurricane Party.”  It is straight ahead, with very little flash or extra fill, just good old roadhouse rock and roll, like any good Texan would respect.    

Just Us Kids is out April 15 on Lightning Rod Records.