Though Curtis McMurtry is only 23 years of age, many of the characters in his songs seem to have given up on life decades ago. His debut solo album Respectable Enemy (due out August 2014 on Berkalin Records) chronicles the narrations of unapologetically bitter individuals still haunted by the ghosts of lovers and friends they have long since driven away. Few other songwriters inhabit such lonely, spiteful people with such conviction. From the doomed narrator of "Foxhole" to the resigned nostalgia of "Eleanor's House" Curtis writes to break your heart into sharp, jagged pieces.
Curtis was born and raised in Austin, Texas and grew up listening to local songwriters like Matt The Electrician, Jon Dee Graham, and his father, James McMurtry. From 2009-2013 Curtis studied music composition at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, primarily writing contemporary chamber music for banjo and strings. In 2013, Curtis moved to Nashville to sharpen his songwriting skills by co-writing with veteran writers including Fred Koller and Guy Clark.
Celebrated songwriter Joe Pug says of McMurtry: "While most of Americana's modern practitioners are busy searching for another rough edge to sand down, Curtis McMurtry's debut is refreshingly unsymmetrical and beautiful. Like few songwriters his age, he truly understands what a big tent American music actually is."
Like his father James and grandfather Larry, Curtis' novelist's eye offers striking attention to detail in his work. “Curtis is frightfully observant and unflinching in his approach and has a refined voice for story telling,” producer Will Sexton says. “He's an absurd creature who you can't stop staring at and wanting to listen to.”
Songwriting legend Jon Dee Graham eagerly doubles down: “Respectable Enemy’s an honest recording of good performances and well written songs. I wish I could've played the guitar on ‘Wire.’ It’s wonderful."
"Curtis McMurtry is a talented new artist, and we got to see him in an intimate setting, right at the beginning" -Barry Gilbert, No Depression
"One way to bear the weight of an influence is to embrace it, and Curtis' take on "Gulf Road" was a perfect way to introduce and honor his father"- Jonathan Bernsterin, American Songwriter