State Theatre Presents James McMurtry

Auburn, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Lia Carotta, Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center
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On Stage at the State Theatre in Auburn

James McMurtry

Sunday, August 6, 2017 ~ 7:30 pm

James McMurtry is an acclaimed rock and folk/Americana singer. His latest release, Complicated Game, spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from political toward personal “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtry says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman”.

The New York Times Magazine’s “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going” features  James McMurtry, “Copper Canteen,” the opening track on his 2015 album, “Complicated Game,” is the song I’ve returned to most since Election Day. The narrator is a hunter, a fisherman and a small-business owner. He doesn’t go to church, but his wife does. Although retirement is in sight, and he has a pension, he hasn’t been able to save as much money as he would like, in part because the store he owns is getting squeezed by “the big boxes out on the bypass.”

Complicated Game delivers McMurtry’s trademark story songs time and again, but the record brings a new (and certainly no less energetic) sonic approach. First, recall blistering beats and gnashing guitars from his magnum opus Just Us Kids (2008). Now, unplug. “The label head wanted more acoustic,” McMurtry explains. “We built everything as we went so we ended up with more acoustic guitar as we went. We just played whatever sounded right for a given song, but we weren’t necessarily saying this is an acoustic record.” Complicated Game doubles down on literate storytelling longtime enthusiasts expect.

John Mellencamp served as co-producer on McMurtry's critically lauded debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, marking the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. McMurtry has worked with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam.

In 2004, McMurtry released the universally lauded Live in Aught-Three. The following year, Childish Things notched arguably his most critical praise, spending six weeks at No. 1 on the Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Childish Things and single 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.

Date and Time: Sunday, August 6 2017 ~ 7:30 pm

Run Time: 2 hours with intermission

General Admission: $30 Advance, $32 Day of Show

Location: 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn CA

Box Office: or 530-885-0156