Thursday, September 18, at the Grand Emporium.

James McMurtry and Rich McCulley 

Thursday, September 18, at the Grand Emporium.

For years, James McMurtry has been singing the stories of hard-drinking, vaguely murderous itinerant boyfriends; hard-drinking, unhinged women; kids with hard-drinking parents; and, occasionally, guys who might just be doing all right. With a sense of humor much drier than his novelist father Larry's, McMurtry writes razor-edged ballads and rock freakouts that beg for word-by-word attention. The man has ways to sneer red dress that'll put you in the hospital. California native Rich McCulley, on the other hand, is just beginning his singer-songwriter stint after banging around in a series of Americana bands (East Side Indians, Big Blue Hearts, Sweet Vine). His roots-pop tunes tend to be a little less gritty (whose aren't?), but he's got numbers about fiancées walking in on drunken husbands-to-be in the arms of hookers -- you can definitely see McMurtry territory from there.

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