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June 20, 2024

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James McMurtry
Saint Mary of the Woods (Sugar Hill Records)

By: Alex Steininger

James McMurty's rustic songwriting makes you feel as if you're listening to a legend, a songwriter of years past.

Saint Mary of the Woods, his latest, makes you feel as if a lost session has been discovered and released for public consumption. But that is not the case. James McMurty is a contemporary artist, writing and recording in the present. His smooth, calm voice and ability to write laid-back roots and dirty roots-rock songs may be the reason you always feel as if you're listening to something from the past, but it is also the reason you can't stop listening to him. He's best when he's writing rambling tales of life from the country, backed by an easy shuffle beat. But, when he decides to crank it up and rock out, the music may not be as palatable, but the same genuine songwriting and honest heart is behind it all, so you'll eventually learn to enjoy it, too. I'll give this a B.

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