Though he was making his eighth appearance on Mountain Stage since 1989, James McMurtry still wasn't used to the audience's quiet awareness. "We're not used to this silence thing," he says after performing "Bayou Tortous," noticing the crowd's rapt attention.
Performing songs from his self-produced ninth record, the gritty Just Us Kids, McMurtry was in top observational form. His lyrics ruminate on wartime America, poverty, post-hurricane life and relationships deteriorated by conflicting aspirations. He closes with the title track to his highly acclaimed Childish Things, which spawned his buzz-building track "We Can't Make It Here Anymore."
McMurtry plays electric and acoustic guitar, and is joined by Ronnie Johnson on bass, Daren Hess on drums and Tim Holt on guitar. As he mentions at the end of his set, McMurtry and company play most Wednesday nights at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas.