Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

11/07/2016

James McMurtry: Remembrance

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // An Election Day 2016 gem

James McMurtry released a new single today, reminding me that he is one of the most astute commentators in song of the American experience. McMurtry's lyrical genius matches that of Bob Dylan and his portraits of American life hold their own with John Mellencamp.

Together, the three paint a picture of the strengths and ills of the past half century. It is McMurtry, though, that has provided the most shwred insight as of late.

In Remembrance, McMurtry takes a look back to previous elections across the globe. The song recalls the first democratic elections in Spain, Reagan's election in 1980, and Britain's experience with the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.

Dylan-esque in its sound, the cut contains a single acoustic guitar and harmonica providing a plaintive backdrop to McMurtry's rugged vocals. The effect is stark, bordering on bleak, conjuring up an image of a man looking to the past for clues about what the future may hold.

More importantly, Remembrance calls to mind the perils and promise of democracy, providing us with plenty to ponder as we wind up a most interesting political season.

McMurtry hits the area next week, playing in Eugene on Tuesday Nov. 15 and Portland Thursday Nov. 17. He is touring with Anders Osborne.

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Comments

Jack O'Connor

This guy never lets you down, terrific!

Terri Smith

Love this man.

Lars Svanholm

Go for president, James!!!

Maurice Hope

James McMurtry is another class, one of the finest story tellers of the last 30 years and then some, an American treasure. Conversational, a little provocative, and always honest. Presently he is writing better than he has ever done and that is saying something.

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