Curtis McMurtry writes about villains that think they’re victims. Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Cohen, Curtis’ music combines piercing lyrics with lush chords and unusual arrangements. His first solo album Respectable Enemy was released in August 2014, and drew comparisons to The Magnetic Fields, Calexico, and John Fullbright. His sophomore album The Hornet’s Nest is due out February 24, 2017.
Curtis was born and raised in Austin, Texas and grew up listening to local musicians Warren Hood, Ephraim Owens, Seela, and his father, James McMurtry. Curtis studied music composition and ethnomusicology in college, primarily writing contemporary chamber music for banjo and strings. After graduation, Curtis moved to Nashville to sharpen his songwriting by co-writing with elder statesmen including Fred Koller and Guy Clark. He has since moved back to Austin where he performs as a quartet with cellist Diana Burgess (of Mother Falcon), upright bassist Taylor Turner (of Magia Negra) and trumpeter Nathan Calzada.
“Backed by a stand-up bass, cello and occasionally a horn section, the 24-year-old McMurtry epitomizes the catch-all nature of Americana.” – Rollingstone.com
“Simply put, at 23, McMurtry’s dark and deep debut solo album, Respectable Enemy, marks him as a world-class talent who not just stands on his own merits, but soars on them.” – Thomas Gerbasi, New York Examiner
“Violin, cello, tenor sax and trumpet broaden the spectrum of his music well beyond country-folk limitations. Curtis doesn’t shy from association with his father – he covers James’ “Gulf Road,” a good fit for the classic-crooner richness of his voice – but he’s after something quite different musically.” – Peter Blackstock, Austin360