Having an in with a couple of famous people might have helped singer/songwriter James McMurtry get through the first swinging door into the music world -- maybe -- but his talents did everything else. This album, Too Long in the Wasteland, is his debut offering. It was produced by John Cougar Mellencamp. The album gives a clear sample of McMurtry's gift of writing lyrics that can transfer in a few short words all that needs to be told to pull the listener into whatever setting or mood McMurtry has decided to create. His lyrics are stories, telling about everyday life, the predictability of work, the troubles of teens, and the pain of love when it isn't all roses and sunshine. Maybe some of his writing talent comes from his father, author Larry McMurtry, known for penning tales such as Lonesome Dove. James McMurtry has a smooth, low voice that carries a Western twang from his life in Texas. Some of the songs on his first album are "Crazy Wind," "Painting by Numbers," "Shining Eyes," and "Poor Lost Soul." All 11 tracks on this debut were written by McMurtry.
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AllMusic Review by Charlotte Dillon