McMurtry's breakthrough album, Just Us Kids, spent six weeks at #1 in Radio & Records and appeared on four charts in Billboard.
In tonight's announcement of nominees for the 2008 Americana Honors & Awards, James McMurtry was nominated in three categories: Best Artist," Best Album" and Best Song." The album is his current CD, Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod Records), and the song is the controversial Cheney's Toy." McMurtry was tied for most nominations.
Since the April 15 release of Just Us Kids, great things have happened for McMurtry, making this his breakthrough recording in many ways. The album spent six straight weeks at #1 on Radio & Records' Americana Airplay chart, and has held steady at #2 for several weeks since then. In its first week, the album debuted on no fewer than four Billboard sales charts (Hot 200 albums, Heatseekers, New Artist and Indie), outpacing his last release, Childish Things, in sales.
The nominations, announced today by the Americana Music Association are not a first for McMurtry, who in 2006 was nominated and won awards for both Best Album" and Best Song."
McMurtry has received the highest press accolades for Just Us Kids, applauding his bravery for speaking about the problems facing America, and even calling the enemy by name.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more hard-boiled depiction of hardscrabble '00s life on the edge of recession," wrote Blender in its four-star review. Entertainment Weekly deemed it an EW pick," citing brilliant character sketches and a steamy Texas roadhouse rumble." And Rolling Stone minced no words: The veteran Texas songwriter's new album, Just Us Kids, features the slow burner 'Cheney's Toy,' one of the sharpest musical indictments yet of George Bush."
The Washington Post took it even further: There's a good chance that McMurtry's Just Us Kids will be the best album of 2008. Angry and scathing in this year of war, recession and presidential campaigns, the disc transcends mere sloganeering by offering the kind of complicated characters and visual description you might expect from the son of novelist Larry McMurtry. But this is much more than literature set to folkie guitar; these tangled tales of dead-end teenagers, burned-out boomers, cynical politicians, divorced loners, drunken roadies and homeless survivors are pushed along by a twitchy John Lee Hooker-like boogie that keeps you hungry for the next line."
McMurtry has been on a non-stop North American tour since the release of Just Us Kids, and will continue with these summer dates:
Thur June 12 MEMPHIS, TN Automatic Slim's
Fri June 13 FAYETTEVILLE, AR George's Majestic Lounge
Sat June 14 FT. WORTH, TX The Aardvark
Fri June 27 AUSTIN, TX Threadgill's
Thur July 3 AUSTIN, TX KGSR's Unplugged at the Grove
Fri July 18 SANTA FE, NM Santa Fe Brewing Co.
Sat July 19 TEMPE, AZ Last Exit
Tue July 22 LOS ANGELES, CA The Troubadour
Thur July 24 SANTA CRUZ, CA Catalyst
Fri July 25 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Slims
Wed July 30 JACKSON HOLE, WY Tocky Mtn. Music Series
Thur July 31 TEN SLEEP, WY Big Horn Mtn. Stage
Sat Aug. 2 SNOWBIRD, UT Snowbird Music Festival
Fri Aug 22 PORTSMOUTH, VA Bayside Harley-Davidson