Thursday To-Do: James McMurtry | Rock Candy

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday To-Do: James McMurtry

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

James McMurtry plays Stickyz Thursday night.
  • James McMurtry plays Stickyz Thursday night.
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

James McMurtry's tune "We Can't Make it Here Anymore" has garnered the singer/songwriter a lot of attention since its release on his 2005 album "Childish Things," particularly since the Great Recession began grinding jobs and lives into dust back in 2008. The title is a double entendre, referring to both the diminishing prospects of the middle class in America and the dwindling manufacturing jobs that made such lives possible.

In a recent post on his blog titled "We Can't Make it Here Naivete," McMurtry elaborated on the song a bit in light of reading a New York Times story about how iPhones are produced, and why, in so many words, we can't make them here. Factory hands in China toil around the clock for low wages. At gunpoint, workers extract precious metals from the ground in the Congo, metals that eventually become bundles of tiny circuits in your pocket, transmitting the ephemera of your day-to-day life to other bundles of tiny circuits in other people's pockets. "We can't make iPhones in this country because we don't want to tolerate slavery within our own borders," he wrote. "So we outsource our slavery."

It's the rare musician who'll examine his own work in so frank a manner and put it in a real-world context like that. But if McMurtry's proved anything in the last many years, it's that he is just that: a rare and thoughtful songwriter. In terms of sound, his highly enjoyable 2008 album "Just Us Kids" is pretty indicative. He draws influence from the winding lyrical poetry of Bob Dylan, the down in the groove rocking of Tom Petty, the sardonic bite of John Prine and the plainspoken everyman appeal of John Mellencamp. But McMurtry always puts his own stamp on it. He's one of the best singer/songwriters going.

Jonny Burke opens the 18-and-older show with some excellent roots-inspired, swaggering power-pop.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Robert Bell

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation