James McMurtry's career started hot, thanks to a lucky series of circumstances in 1987. First, at a friend's behest, he entered and won a high-profile songwriting competition. Then, when John Mellencamp got involved in a project written by McMurtry's father (the novelist Larry McMurtry), it gave the young folk-rock musician a chance to get his demo tape into Mellencamp's hands.
Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 11:07 am
Moya Brennan heads up this episode from the Mountain Stage archives, recorded live in West Virginia in December 2007. Brennan grew up in County Donegal, Ireland, as the eldest daughter in a musical family of nine children. Following the lead of their music-teacher mother and bandleader father, all 11 Brennans would often play together in the family pub.
The English piano-rock band Keane formed back in 1997, but it wasn't until 2004 that the group's album Hopes and Fears took off on the strength of the smash single "Somewhere Only We Know." A Best New Artist Grammy nomination followed, and in the years since, the group has released three more albums: 2006's Under the Iron Sea, 2008's Perfect Symmetry and this year's Strangeland.