James McMurtry talks about the making of “Complicated Game” and more

j m sklar

Texas singer-songwriter-guitarist-bandleader James McMurtry finds some time off the long, dusty road for some fishing and a cool, wet one. Courtesy NY Times. Photo by Benjamin Sklar

I don’t mind. It’s a pretty good job. I don’t have to say, ‘You want fries with that?’ ” — James McMurtry, on a music career’s highs and lows, years of heavy road touring, and the pressure to record. 

My former colleague Jane Burns did a fine phone interview with McMurtry about his masterful new album Complicated Game, shortly before he came to Madison to perform at The High Noon Saloon.

We worked together at The Capital Times before the Madison daily newspapers merged. She’s been a copy editor, editor and writer, and I was the paper’s arts reporter. I recall one of our first interactions was after she did a tad of nip-tucking on a lead of mine — on a deadline, of course — and I got a bit huffy about it. But I soon felt very good about her handling my copy and we became fast friends, partly because of our mutual tastes and interests in roots musics, and sports — and her insight and professional fair-mindedness. She also does a great job covering the emergence of women’s sports. She helped make my tough last days at The Capital Times bearable, especially while I endured a bad, painful illness that disabled me professionally. 

A natural wit, Jane also writes one of my favorite off-beat and best-titled blogs, Sneezing Through the Roundabouts: http://sneezingthrough.blogspot.com/

Not long ago, Jane wrote a major piece on the Iowa roots-rock band Scruffy the Cat for NoDepression.com. I hope she finds time for more of that, however, in today’s topsy-turvy news media world,  dailies tend to work staffers harder than ever today, for diminishing pay and benefits. Especially if they have no union. — KL (Kevernacular)

Here is Jane’s interview feature on McMurtry: http://host.madison.com/entertainment/music/james-mcmurtry-s-songs-mix-tough-times-and-romance/article_76054d42-e388-576d-9d30-031dab811d08.html#ixzz3bRoAw14Rq

Guest blogger Jane Burns is a veteran journalist whose reporting career has run the gamut from covering NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments to donning plastic shoe covers and hairnets to explore the many cheese factories of Wisconsin. As much as she loves basketball and cheese, it’s music that stole her heart long, long ago.

Thrown into the mix of everything else she’s covered in her career, she’s also written about music and the arts. She’s currently a reporter at the Wisconsin State Journal, and has also worked for the Des Moines Register, USA Today, The Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Capital Times.

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