Childish Things

McMurtry’s droll half-sung, half-spoken delivery and rode-hard voice—along with some pitch-perfect no-muss, no-fuss, roots-rock accompaniment by the Heartless Bastards—are the perfect vehicles for this literate batch of songs that plumb the depths of our current political plight and existential ennui. Of particular note is the anthem-like seven-minute “We Can’t Make It Here”—his jeremiad about the problems and perils of living through the globalized, Wal-Mart-ed Bushoid years. The rumbling groove he sets up there continues throughout the album as he cuts the cards and quotes Proust, assays the travails of small town lives gone awry and realizes that whether you’re in Charlemagne’s home town or Pocatello bound, it all comes down to measuring out your life with coffee grounds. McMurtry will be at Hawkins Amphitheater Aug. 19.