On The Record: Curtis McMurtry, Harvey “Tex” Thomas Young

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On The Record: Curtis McMurtry, Harvey “Tex” Thomas Young

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 12, 2014

OUT THIS WEEK

Curtis McMurtry, “Respectable Enemy” (Berkalin): Like those in his direct paternal family tree, the son of James and grandson of Larry seems to be drawn to fiction, as the stories he weaves on his debut disc reach beyond the personal experience of most 23-year-olds. Or, at the least, most folks his age aren’t as bitter as the picture Curtis paints on tracks such as “Ghost in My Bed” (“sometimes it’s all I can do to remember her name”) and “Chaplinesque” (“what a respectable enemy you turned out to be”). These are word-heavy compositions, but there’s intrigue in the instrumentation, too; violin, cello, tenor sax and trumpet broaden the spectrum of his music well beyond country-folk limitations. Curtis doesn’t shy from association with his father – he covers James’ “Gulf Road,” a good fit for the classic-crooner richness of his voice – but he’s after something quite different musically. Release show Aug. 16 at Strange Brew.

Harvey “Tex” Thomas Young, “More Than We Was”: The 1980s heyday of Tex Thomas & the Danglin’ Wranglers has long since past, but the collaborative songwriting chops of lyricist-singer Harvey Young and multi-instrumentalist Danny Levin never really subsided, as this new 13-song set makes clear. If the sound is less rowdy than the Wranglers got, it cuts no less close to the bone on songs such as “The Water,” which is gripping right from the opening couplet: “Though the water come a-rushing over him, he kept on fighting/Never knowing if he could breathe again, he kept on fighting.” Levin fashions tasteful backdrops behind Young’s distinctive, emotional singing; it’s a voice that takes a little getting used to, which he acknowledges by twice turning over the lead role to younger talents: Emily Gimble and Joe Pug reward him with instantly compelling vocals on classic country ballads “The Portrait” and You Can Go Crazy.” Release show Aug. 16 at Austin Ale House.

Also: Letting Up Despite Great Faults, “Neon,” release show Aug. 16 at Holy Mountain; Leticia Rodriguez Garza, “Saguita Al Bate” EP, release show Aug. 16 at Sahara Lounge; Taylor & the Wild Now, self-titled EP, release show Aug. 16 at the Blackheart; Play By Numbers, “Somersault.”

COMING SOON

AUG. 19: Ruthie Foster, “Promise of a Brand New Day” (Blue Corn); in-store Aug. 15 at Waterloo Records, release show Sept. 5 at Paramount.

AUG. 19: Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson, “For Pops: A Tribute to Muddy Waters” (Severn).

AUG. 19: Israel Nash, “Rain Plans,” release show Aug. 20 at Lamberts.

AUG. 19: Golden Dawn Arkestra, self-titled EP, release show Aug. 23 at Mohawk.

AUG. 26: The Young, “Chrome Cactus” (Matador), in-store Aug. 25 at Waterloo Records.

AUG. 26: Tinnarose, self-titled (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 23 at Stubb’s.

AUG. 26: Globe Factory No. 23, “Original Sins for Copycats” (Fiesta Red).

SEPT. 2: Brian Pounds, “Strikes and Gutters” EP, release show 9-18 at Strange Brew.

SEPT. 9: Belle Sounds, “Black Stone” EP, release show Sept. 13 at Lamberts.

SEPT. 9: Nightowls, “Good As Gold B-Sides” EP, playing Oct. 11 at ACL Fest.

SEPT. 16: Ahren Behrens & the Midnight Stroll, self-titled EP (Megaforce).

SEPT. 16: Fauntleroys, “Below the Pink Pony” EP (Plowboy).

SEPT. 16: Band of Heathens, “Sunday Morning Record.”

SEPT. 23: Will Knaak, “The Only Open Road” (Lounge Side).

SEPT. 25: Kim Simpson, “Tex-Mex Guitar” vinyl 45rpm EP, release show Sept. 25 at Cactus Cafe.

OCT. 7: Hal Ketchum, “I’m the Troubadour” (Music Road).

OCT. 7: Shakey Graves, “And the War Came” (Dulatone), playing Oct. 30 at Stubb’s.

OCT. 14: Timberos Del Norte, self-titled.

Are you an Austin-area act with a new record coming out? Let us know at musicsource@statesman.com.

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