Alex McMurray is an artist whom you hear about as soon as you start paying attention to the New Orleans music scene. And then you start listening to his songs and you appreciate why he has been called the most talented songwriter in New Orleans. His songs are well crafted and tell great stories.
Alex McMurray Live
It’s hard to believe that, once upon a time, McMurray was a Jersey boy. He grew up in Red Bank and landed in New Orleans accidentally, as a student at Tulane. After falling in with the wrong crowd, he forewent any chance he may have had at a respectable life and got down in the trenches of the Big Easy music scene, where he remains to this day. Along the way he has washed dishes, dug ditches, signed and lost a record deal, joined and quit bands, substitute taught grade school, nearly died from a mysterious lung ailment and even moved away twice—once to Japan, once to New York City—yet none of these events affected his will to describe the peculiar beauty of the path he, first unwittingly, and later begrudgingly, chose. “I make a living doing music in the only music town of its kind,” he says, “suffering the slings and arrows but endeavoring to come up smiling on Monday.”
McMurray released his first solo album, Banjaxed, in 2004. He is also a member and mastermind of the brilliantly loose sousaphone-washboard-guitar trio, Tin Men, who have released four uncommon albums, Super Great Music for Modern Lovers (2003), Freaks for Industry (2005), Avocado Woo Woo (2013) and On the Shady Side (2016) blessing New Orleanians with McMurray-style theme songs like “If You Can’t Make It Here,” “On The Shady Side Of The Street”” and “Turn My Lights Back On.” His songs have been covered by a pantheon of New Orleans performers, including John Boutté, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Debbie Davis.
In 2015, McMurray teamed up with songwriters Paul Sanchez, Spencer Bohren and Jim McCormickas The Write Brothers, whose inaugural album First Flight landed them on the cover of OffBeat Magazine. All of McMurray’s bands are yearly favorites at New Orleans’ Big Easy Awards and Best of the Beat Awards, where Cannonball won Album of the Year in 2010, and McMurray won Best Roots Rock artist in 2014.
In one incarnation or another, McMurray has played Jazz Fest every year since 1996, survived no less than two dozen Mardi Gras seasons, and lived to tell the tale in heartbreaking song. He is an organizer of the Jazz Fest season fringe music festival Chaz Fest, and currently plays in countless other New Orleans bands, including the Happy Talk Band, Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers, Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show, Greg Schatz and the Friggin’ Geniuses and the Geraniums. He hosts a weekly residency at Mid City spot Chickie Wah Wah and continues to release solo singles regularly via iTunes and Bandcamp.
As always, doors will be at 7 and show at 8. We ask for a $20 minimum donation, with all proceeds going to the artist.