October 26: Curtis McMurtry


5 pm (Doors at 4:30)

Support The Artist ($10 advance donation, $15 at the door)


Curtis McMurtry’s Respectable Enemy plots (“Foxhole”) and prowls (“Eleanor’s House”) with singular focus. “I wanted to make an album about people treating the ones they loved as opponents and the really mean and competitive aspects of love,” the Austin native says. “It’s about conflict and spite and those times when someone who should be proud of their partner’s or friend’s accomplishments is jealous instead. I play out the nastiest parts of people.”

Results spotlight a singular young songwriter rapidly rising. McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes effortlessly pull (“Isabel”) and punch (“Down to the Wire”) with raw emotion and keen insight. Folks notice.“Wise beyond his years,” CMT recently labeled McMurtry. Celebrated songwriter Joe Pug agrees: “Like few songwriters his age, Curtis truly understands what a big tent American music actually is. While most modern Americana practitioners search for another rough edge to sand down, his debut is refreshingly unsymmetrical and beautiful.”

Evidence: “Chaplinesque.” McMurtry seamlessly frames a wounded lover’s disdain with unflinching honesty. “What a respectable enemy you turned out to be,” he growls, “and here I thought you were just a bad friend.” “I wrote ‘Chaplinesque’ when I was 17,” McMurtry explains. “I had this friend that I was really close to and she ended up getting closer to the person I was dating and I couldn’t use her as a confidante anymore. It was difficult but fascinating.”

Remember that sentiment. McMurtry describes the entire collection as “downers to some extent.” He carefully divides his stark narratives into two groups: reflective, nostalgic downers and vindictive, nasty ones. Look deeper. McMurtry frequently mirrors Townes Van Zandt analyzing his own songs: “I have a few that aren’t sad, they’re hopeless, about totally hopeless situations.” “Hope is where you choose to see it, so maybe you can imagine a place where these people come to terms with the problems,” McMurtry explains. “However, I don’t think that resolution is presented in the material. They’re snapshots of difficult places without clear indications of where they will end.”

His novelist’s eye offers striking attention to detail throughout.“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. I would’ve loved to fuck some shit up there.”

Check the Calendar for our full listings.

“The cool thing about Catfish Concerts is that it really has the feel of when I was a kid in South Austin, except you guys are way too calm and take it way to seriously.”                             – John Townes Van Zandt II

“Catfish Concerts is among the most intimate, friendly, inspired and inspirational house concerts in the country and most likely the world. It’s like hanging out with your favorite folks in a treehouse built by your favorite uncle, the one who paints and write poems all day. I’ll tell you what I think Catfish is: a genuine piece of heaven that you can touch with your hands while you drink good local beer and listen to great songs.  Thank you, Jenni and Brian, for creating such a space and event.” – Walt Wilkins

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