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Live In Europe

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Two disc (CD/DVD) live release from the acclaimed singer/songwriter. In early 2009, James McMurtry traveled overseas for his first European tour. The guys played for enthusiastic crowds in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland, and Belgium. Joining McMurtry's band on keyboards for the tour was the legendary Ian McLagan (who also played on McMurtry's latest studio album, Just Us Kids). McMurtry combined the best recordings from the Amsterdam and Geislingen concerts to create Live in Europe. The live album includes a bonus DVD featuring live video performances from the Amsterdam show. This marks the first time fans have been able to purchase video footage of McMurtry live in concert.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 13, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: October 13, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Lightning Rod Records
  • ASIN: B002MT3D9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,236 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
James McMurtry's never been shy with his opinions on politics and society, and playing his songs for a European audience one has to wonder whether his metaphors translate to a more universal sentiment or simply provide a peephole into an American's view of his own country. This 8-song live CD features five titles from 2008's Just Us Kids on which McMurtry cataloged political diseases and social isolation. Two of that album's most scathing pieces, "God Bless America" and "Cheney's Toy" are left out here, which is a shame considering the CD fills only half its space at 42 minutes. The accompanying DVD, taped in Amsterdam, duplicates two titles from the CD, but adds four more including the early "Too Long in the Wasteland" and a cover of Jon Dee Graham's "Laredo," on which Graham himself guests. A lengthy live version of "Choctaw Bingo" gives both McMurtry and legendary keyboard player Ian McLagan a chance to show their instrumental wares. The sound is sharp, and though the songs are played largely as recorded on their studio albums, the band adds a punchy rock dynamic. The rhythm section is potent, the guitar twangy, and McLagan's organ and piano are especially satisfying. McMurtry sings in a limited range, but this gives his live vocals an effective element of speech making. Delivered in a tight-fitting two-panel cardboard slipcase this is more a memento of the tour than a new chapter in McMurtry's career (as was his previous live album, Aught-Three), but it's a solid representation of the current state of his art. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
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Format: Audio CD
Genetics can be a powerful influence on one's life, whether it is environmental, career, or other aspects of our lives. Most often, genetics will have the greater influence. In James McMurtry's case, it would prove to be everything.

His Father, as most already know, is the internationally renowned novelist, Larry McMurtry, who has written so many great books. Books like Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment are some of his most well known and were all made into memorable motion pictures. Why? Because they were all so intriguing in their accurate characterizations of the people of Texas. These portrayals are all so very non-stereotypical. Yet Texans along with New Yorkers are probably the most stereotyped of all Americans.

If you want to see how Texans really are, then read one of Larry McMurtry's novels. If you want to see how New Yorkers really behave. Then go watch a Marty Scorsese flick. Both of these artists are sure to deliver accurate portrayals of their respective fellow citizens because they have the necessary knowledge of both of their environments to bring their character interpretations to life and make them credible.

James McMurty, Larry McMurtry's son, takes this same thought and applies it to his vocation. He writes lyrics for his music as vivid as anything his Father has ever written for his books. If you don't believe me, listen to his "Choctaw Bingo", a signature song of his that possesses characters as authentic as any one of the characters from `The Last Picture Show'. He is absolutely to music what the elder McMurtry is to novels.

I sat on these thoughts for a good two weeks because I wanted to avoid comparisons to his Father, but it proved to be an impossible task. There is just no way it could have been done.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
James McMurtry has an eye for detail and a deep abiding love for every day people. The characters in his songs are far from perfect. They're tired and sometimes beaten down by life. They struggle with things beyond their control as well as their own flaws and addictions. They don't always prevail but somehow they manage to keep getting up each day and putting one foot in front of the other. McMurtry's work are stories set to music. He isn't the most talented vocalist in the world but an appealing and engaging one. His guitar work rarely gets mentioned but is muscular and superb and propels his band in concert. The highlights for me this time out are "Ruby and Carlos", "Hurricane Party", "No More Buffalo" and the ever present signature tune "Choctaw Bingo". I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the release features the first ever available dvd footage of James in concert. Hard to believe that this was the first time James ever innvaded Europe.
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Format: Audio CD
OK - so it's a live album performing tracks from previously released studio albums. And, this will be McMurtry's second live CD in five years. But, what's fun about this release is twofold: 1) the recording here is much better than Live in Aught-Three, which has much more a "large room" feel - a bit echo-y (although short at 8 tracks, the Live In Europe recording is fantastic and features great songs); 2) this is also a DVD package, which features live video footage of 6 tracks from this performance. Good quality video and sound, and it's nice to see a down-to-earth bar-band performance the way they were meant to be.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
James McMurty is one of the great forces in the crowded field of Texas singer-songwriters. His literary approach to the song, the great turn of the phrase and vocal presence are perfect for a great live CD. This package contains a CD that does not comprimise itself by trying to max out the CD format. It's not overly long but every minute is essential. His takes of Just Us Kids, Hurricane Party and the fantastic Carlos and Ruby will stay in your head long after your CD player stops spinning. The DVD contains some songs from the CD and some others like Choctaw Bingo which are great (Sorry, James. Ray Wylie Hubbard's version might still be the ultimate~). I would seldom recommend a live disc to someone looking to get into a new artist but I do think that Live in Europe is a great place to start your journey with James McMurtry.
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