Within the song cycle of innocence and experience that is Childish Things
, James McMurtry continues to explore musical territory between rock and a hard place. The social commentary of the relentlessly bleak "We Can't Make It Here" and "Six-Year Drought" is more pointed than ever, while the arrangements throughout are as taut, muscular and slap-in-the-face direct as the songs. While the opening "See the Elephant," the title cut, and "Memorial Day" evoke a younger person's sense of wonder, the mortal lessons have plainly taken their toll by the closing "Holiday." Along the way, highlights range from the accordion-laced yearning of "Charlemagne's Home Town" to the Chuck Berry
-style, guitar-driven rock of "The Old Part of Town" to a stirring duet with Joe Ely
on "Old Slew Foot." With his terse, cut-to-the-bone artistry, McMurtry never wastes a word or a note. --Don McLeese
While Childish Things isn't a political record, the centerpiece has to be 'We Can't Make It Here', McMurtry's commentary on the current state of the Union. This is his first studio album in over three years. Comparde. 2005.