CD Reviews for 06/04/08 – James McMurtry, The Whipsaws

Compact Capsules for 6/04/08
by Dan Ferguson

James McMurtry
Just Us Kids
Lightning Rod Records LR-95022

Few songwriters can speak their mind as literately as James McMurtry. On Just Us Kids, McMurtry’s narratives are oft-times flat-out flaming in expressing his disdain for the state of the union and lots else in this country. In other words, he’s still pissed as heck. As is par for the course, McMurtry tells it like he sees it attacking everything from our war-crazed administration (“Cheney’s Toy”) to corporate America run amok (“Ruins of the Realm”) to the stunning “Ruby and Carlos” which is right there with the best of his extended story songs. On the flip, he gets near nostalgic on the title track and deliver a made for the barroom beaut with “Hurricane Party”. All set to a guitar-driven groove with a newfound horns flourish on selected tracks, McMurtry’s piece of mind is again on target, not to mention darn refreshing. (Visit or

The Whipsaws
60 Watt Avenue
Shuteye Records SE202WS

Compared to the lower 48, the hunker-down quality of life in Alaska seems a lot more conducive to a band honing its chops. Featuring guest spots from the likes of Tim Easton and Marti Jones and with a serious overall musical nod to Neil Young, on 60 Watt Avenue North of the border band The Whipsaws prove it in spades delivering a tight as a tourniquet burst of bar band twang rock that’ll have you reaching for the Repeat button time and again. (Visit www.the

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)