TEXT AND PHOTOS BY DAVE BRAINARD
For the James McMurtry concert at Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom, Max Gomez opened the show. He’s a fingerpicking folksinger with Neal Diamond good looks and aw-shucks charm. He played mostly originals with a few covers thrown in, notably John hartford’s “In Tall Buildings.”
This was the first time I’d seen James McMurtry with a band. All other times he was solo and acoustic. With Daren Hess on drums, Cornbread on the bass guitar and Tim Holt on accordion, mandolin and electric guitar, it was a whole new dimension to what I’m accustomed to. These are the same guys he’s played with every Wednesday night at The Continental Club in Austin so to say they were tight would be an understatement. Lots of cool layers – both musically and vocally. Great stuff!. Touring on the back of a new album he naturally played a good amount from “Complicated Game” but also threw in old favorites like “Too Long in the Wasteland,” “No More Buffalo” and “Choctaw Bingo” when he was joined onstage by Hoop Dancer Beth Lavander.
All in all a great night – and thanks to Southland and promoter Marianne Taylor for bringing him to town!