It’s a pretty cool day when Stephen King says you’re the country’s “fiercest songwriter,” which is what he said about Austin, Texas-based James McMurtry. He’s a man who’s not shy about talking about everything from big politics to the small stories of everyday people trying to get by.
McMurtry will be here Saturday night.
Q: People say that you just keep getting better – do you feel that way?
A: I haven’t really paid that much attention. I would hope so after this long and being this old. But I don’t really remember how I used to write, so just one song at a time to me.
Q: When you do your albums, do you do them as a single piece?
A: It depends on the record. “Saint Mary of the Woods” was strung out over years; we’d come off the road and record and finally we had enough songs , so I took it out to LA and got a good mixing engineer. This last one, I brought in C.C. Adcock to produce because it seemed like I was repeating myself production-wise and I needed to learn some new tricks.
Q: Do you feel the need, not necessarily to reinvent yourself, but to keep it fresh?
A: Just to learn. If you live long enough, you’re going to accidentally reinvent yourself a time or two probably. It’s just about learning as you go and staying curious.
Q: So, politics … where do you see us heading? Do you think we’re doomed?
A: I don’t know; I can’t really make an accurate prediction on that. Driving around the country, we didn’t see a lot of Hillary yard signs in the last couple of years, so it wasn’t a total surprise that Trump got in. I remember being really surprised when Ronald Reagan got elected, you know? Back then, nobody could believe that a B-movie actor would be the president, but of course, B-movies were kind of what defined our culture in those days, and now it’s reality TV, so it follows that Trump would get elected.