An Evening with John Moreland & James McMurtry

Western Reserve Folk Arts Association presents

An Evening with John Moreland & James McMurtry

Thu, March 22, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$35.00

John Moreland & James McMurtry
John Moreland & James McMurtry
The Kent Stage Adds to Its 16th Anniversary Weekend:

James McMurtry & John Moreland on March 22



Contact: Bob Burford

bob.burford57@gmail.com

330-842-1258



The Kent Stage is celebrating its 16th year in 2018, and has just announced an addition to its powerhouse anniversary weekend. Texas-born singer-songwriters James McMurtry & John Moreland will perform an evening of brilliant Americana at The Kent Stage on Thursday, March 22. The big weekend already includes Dixie Dregs on March 23, The Zombies on March 24 and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder on March 25.

Longtime fans know James McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have turned heads for more than a quarter-century. His critically successful first album Too Long in the Wasteland (1989), which was produced by John Mellencamp, marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for his tune “Where’d You Hide the Body,” produced by Canton’s Don Dixon.

McMurtry’s long career features a host of high watermarks. Songs detailing the lives of everyday people pierce listeners’ hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary. “James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” said Stephen King. He is now on tour opening for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. “James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth,” Isbell said, “and these days he's working at the top of his game.”

John Moreland began writing and singing songs in his early teens, and soon thereafter played in local bands. He cites Steve Earle as a huge influence on his writing. Moreland’s early records were stripped down affairs, emphasizing his church upbringing, elegant voice and acoustic guitar. His career, which for years was completely a DIY operation, continued to grow over the years, to the point where he could no longer handle it alone. Last year Moreland released his seventh album, Big Bad Luv, his first with a full band.

Moreland made his network TV debut in 2016 on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert,” performing an emotional version of “Break My Heart Sweetly.” Three of Moreland's songs have been featured on the “Sons of Anarchy” TV show.

Reserved seats are $35. The show begins at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Tickets go on-sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 26 at www.thekentstage.com where you can also view the full calendar of concerts. Tickets also available by phone at 877-987-6487.
John Moreland
John Moreland
The replay of John Moreland’s network television debut is…glorious and affirming and a sucker punch. He is announced by Stephen Colbert, lights dissolve, and the camera slowly focuses on the person midway across the unadorned stage, revealing him beneath muted blue lights.

He is a big man.

Seated, alone, cradling his acoustic guitar.

He looks like nobody who is famous.

Then he begins to sing, to caress the song “Break My Heart Sweetly,” and all that remains is to whisper, “Oh, my god.”

In Colbert’s studio everybody stood, like they were in church.

Big Bad Luv is the record John Moreland made after, after everything in his life changed. For the better.

He sings in one of those accents from flyover country that’s impossible to locate and implausible to mimic. (Texas, by way of Northern Kentucky, but mostly Tulsa, as it happens.) He sings directly from his heart, with none of the restraint and filters and caution the rest of us would apply for public protection. He sings with resolute courage.

He sings.

And writes. Writes with simple eloquence about love and faith and isolation; the human condition; what every song and poem and novel is about, at the core: Life.

“Break My Heart Sweetly” came from his second solo album, released in 2013 and titled In the Throes. High on Tulsa Heat, released through Thirty Tigers, landed him on Colbert’s stage (that’s the LP Colbert held up). Song placements on “Sons of Anarchy,” an emerging artist nomination from the Americana Music Association.

Enough sales to compel Moreland to give up his DIY label operation, and sign with 4AD. “It grew to the point where I couldn’t really handle everything myself,” he says. “Even with a manager and a small team, I came to the conclusion that I’d like to play music and not worry about the other stuff.”
Enough success to buy a measure of peace, and not more pain. “I expected to just play in the corner of the bar and have people not really pay attention, make $100, go home and go to work the next morning, doing something I didn’t like,” Moreland says. “So, yeah, I didn’t really expect to be here. But, then, on the other hand, I did. I feel like I’m good enough to be here. And I’ve always been confident, even when I probably shouldn’t have been. I knew I was an outsider. I didn’t have a lot of faith in the music industry to let me in. But I guess they have. To some extent. That’s what I hoped for, but I wasn’t sure that would be how it worked.”

“In churches learning how to hate yourself/Ain’t grace a wretched old thing” he sings, the song called “Ain’t We Gold.” Big Bad Luv is unmistakably a rock ‘n’ roll record. If, that is, one understands the term to include Ray Wylie Hubbard, John Hiatt, and Lucero. Or The Band, maybe. Insistent songs, coming from a voice as elegant as unfinished barn wood, songs which insist upon their words being heard.
His fourth solo album, not discounting two records with the Black Gold Band and a third with the Dust Bowl Souls. Nor discounting early excursions into hardcore which were not youthful indiscretions but crucial training in the emotional honesty of confessional songwriting. A rock album, to be performed by a rock band. A partial break with the solitude of solo touring.

“Two or three years ago,” Moreland says, “it would have been impossible to picture touring with a band. Now that’s changed. I think I’ll still do some solo or stripped down shows, but I have the option to bring a band with me if I want. Ultimately it’s just what the songs felt like they should be.”

Big Bad Luv was recorded down in Little Rock, mostly with a crew of Tulsa friends: John Calvin Abney on piano and guitar, back from Tulsa Heat; Aaron Boehler on bass; Paddy Ryan on drums; Jared Tyler on dobro. And then Lucero’s Rick Steff on piano, which ended up being the catalyst for completion.

“I always start off writing whatever comes naturally,” Moreland says. “Once I’ve got seven or eight of those, then I’ll take stock and look at what I’ve got, figure out what belongs on a record together, and what might not. Then I’ll figure out what kind of songs I need.”

Three sessions over ten months, sandwiched between touring dates and life. The final sequence roughly approximating the order in which songs were written. “I chose the sequence for what I thought worked best musically,” he says, untroubled.

“Quick bursts of recording,” Moreland goes on. Gives off a quick laugh. “It’s not like we’re sitting there over-thinking the performances, I’m definitely a fan of just hit record and play it. But then there’s long stretches where I’m not in the studio, when I’m listening to what I did, asking how do I turn this into a record?”

The key turned out to be Rick Steff’s promise to record next week, even though Moreland didn’t have songs, not a one. “I went home and wrote five songs in four days and finished up,” Moreland says. Another deep, wry laugh.

Big Bad Luv is, at least by comparison…maybe…a happier record? “I don’t think I’m writing songs that are that much different,” Moreland says. “It’s always been a positive thing at heart, even if a song isn’t sunshine and rainbows. At the very least my songs have been a way to exorcise negative feelings so that I can move on. And hopefully they provide that same experience to listeners. So that’s what I’m still doing. I think it’s a positive thing. I think this record, there’s definitely a change in attitude, but it’s the same point of view.”

Oh, yeah. And Tchad Blake mixed it. “He’s also the only person I’ve ever worked with on a record whose name I can drop.”

“Slow down easy, I’ve been hauling a heavy soul,” he sings, this song titled “Slow Down Easy.” Carrying it for all of us, but no longer alone.
James McMurtry
James McMurtry
"The simple fact is that James McMurtry may be
the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation…"
Stephen King | Entertainment Weekly

The son of acclaimed author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James grew up on a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records. His first album,Too Long in the Wasteland (released in 1989), was produced by John Mellencamp and marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for his Longform Music Video ofWhere'd You Hide The Body. 1997′s It Had To Happen received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album.

In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three on Compadre Records. 2005′s Childish Things garnered some of the highest critical praise of McMurtry's career and spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, Childish Things and "We Can't Make It Here" won the Americana Music Awards for Album and Song of the Year, respectively. McMurtry received more Americana Music Award nominations for 2008′s Just Us Kids. This album marked his highest Billboard 200 chart position in more than 19 years.

In 2009, Live in Europe was released, capturing The McMurtry Band's first European tour and extraordinary live set. Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, the disc features special guests Ian McLagan and Jon Dee Graham. Also, for the first time ever, video of the James McMurtry Band's live performance is available on the included DVD.

The poignant lyrics of his immense catalog still ring true today. In 2011, "We Can't Make It Here" was cited among 'The Nation's' "Best Protest Songs Ever." Bob Lefsetz writes, "'We Can't Make It Here' has stood the test of time because of its unmitigated truth."

Never one to rest on his laurels, James McMurtry continues to tour constantly, and consistently puts on a "must-see" powerhouse performance. 'The Washington Post' noted McMurtry's live prowess: "Much attention is paid to James McMurtry's lyrics, and rightfully so: He creates a novel's worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he's an accomplished rock guitar player. At a sold-out Birchmere, the Austin-based artist was joined by drummer Daren Hess and bassist Ronnie Johnson in a set that demonstrated the raw power of wince-inducing imagery propelled by electric guitar. It was serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band."

JAMES McMURTRY LIVE IN EUROPE CD WITH BONUS DVD DOCUMENTS FIRST EURO TOUR WITH GUESTS IAN MCLAGAN AND JON DEE GRAHAM
On October 13, 2009, Lightning Rod Records released Live in Europe, a document of McMurtry's first European tour, on which, along with long-time band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, he was joined by keyboardist Ian McLagan and fellow Texas songwriting legend Jon Dee Graham. The set is available as a CD with a bonus DVD, or as a deluxe vinyl LP package with a CD and DVD insert. In early 2009, James McMurtry and his trio traveled overseas to play their first European tour. The guys played for enthusiastic crowds in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and Belgium. Joining the band on keyboards for the tour was the legendary Ian McLagan (who also played on McMurtry's latest studio album, Just Us Kids). The best recordings from the Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Geislingen, Germany concerts were combined to create Live in Europe. The album includes a bonus DVD featuring performances from the Amsterdam show. This marks the first time fans will be able to purchase video footage of McMurtry live in concert. The deluxe vinyl version includes inserted copies of the CD and DVD. Fellow Austin-based songwriter Jon Dee Graham opened the shows and joins the band on a version of his tune "Laredo" on the bonus DVD.

JAMES McMURTRY ALBUMS REISSUED: 'CHILDISH THINGS' & 'LIVE IN AUGHT-THREE'
On February 1, 2011, two of James McMurtry's most popular albums, Childish Things and Live in Aught-Three were reissued by Lightning Rod Records. Live in Aught-Three has been remastered since its original 2004 release and will be available on vinyl for the first time. The deluxe double LP also includes a copy of the album on CD. Less -
Videos & Press

James McMurtry and the art of the American song

[Creative Loafing] By Alec Wooden Stories — the art of telling them, anyway — have never been lost on James McMurtry. The son of acclaimed novelist Larry McMutry, the Fort-Worth born and Virginia-raised James picked up the art at a young age, trading in his father's medium (the pen) for his own (a guitar, which [...]
Video: James McMurtry – America's "Fiercest Songwriter"

[CNN.com] It's got to be tough being a well-known artist, yet still being compared to your better known dad. Singer-songwriter James McMurtry seems to take it pretty well. He is the son of author Larry McMurtry, author of "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment" to name a few. Another author, Stephen King, calls James McMurty [...]
James McMurtry's second language is music

[Knoxville News-Sentinel] By Wayne Bledsoe James McMurtry has become known as one of America's great songwriters. Stephen King has said that McMurtry, "may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation," and his songs, including best-known numbers "Choctaw Bingo," "Levelland" and "We Can't Make It Here Anymore," bear that out. However, since the release of [...]
Venue Information:
The Kent Stage
175 East Main
Kent, OH, 44240
http://www.thekentstage.com/