Curtis McMurtry

The Hornet's Nest

Texas Platters

Exceptional artistry built Curtis McMurtry's DNA, but those coming to this local songcraft with expectations based on his famous relations are in for a shock. The Hornet's Nest, his second album, finds him erecting a very large tent around what passes for American music and utilizing it to tell inventive stories of everyday life. Most compositions come colored by an acoustic guitar, but he depends on chamber orchestration, including Mother Falcon's Diana Burgess on cello, to create imaginative sound beds featuring trumpet, banjo, upright bass, pedal steel, and clarinet. The results close in on Leonard Cohen at his edgiest ("Tracker") and the sad-eyed folk music favored by Sarah Jarosz ("Bayonet"). He describes The Hornet's Nest as "a play staged in 13 vignettes." Curtis McMurtry's vision, a sort of 21st century blues, moves in resounding ways. (Album release: Cactus Cafe, Fri., Feb. 24)

***.5

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