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Choctaw Bingo and other things James McMurtry wants to tell you about
If James McMurtry hadn’t been baptized in the muddy red waters of Texas, his music would be filed right next to Lou Reed. But McMurtry is Texas. It’s in his blood. His crusty, provoking songs have the same emotion as the words penned by his famous father, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Larry McMurtry.
Back in the late ’80s, the younger McMurtry may have used his father’s connections to help launch his career, but for the past couple of years, he’s earned his place in the sun, although his way of shining is different than most musicians. McMurtry puts more value on words and music than he does on success. After all, who these days would try and make it to the top with songs that pointedly criticize big music seller Wal-Mart, George W. and Dick Cheney? McMurtry may be playing ball outside the big commercial realm, but he’s making it on the charts, anyway.
He likes to ruminate on places and social conditions in a fine-tuned Texas way that’s more similar to The Boss than the wild Texas rowdy many Texas musicians are floating on these days. Backing him up is the very talented duo of Ronnie Johnson on bass and vocals and Darren Hess on drums.
McMurtry’s newest CD, Just Us Kids, was released in April and is a follow-up to the 2005 Childish Things. Childish Things and “We Can’t Make It Here” won the Americana Music Awards for album and song of the year, respectively in 2006
James McMurtry is making the theme music for our times. Although some of his songs broach national issues, others rock on a local level. Listen to Choctaw Bingo and you’ll understand. Not everyone knows about bingo, blue cats and cherry cokes, but we all do.
McMurtry hasn’t always been as good as he is now. Head to George’s on Friday night to check him out. You’ll be glad you did. Expect a crowd.Choctaw Bingo and other things James McMurtry

Deadbird on the fly
Fayetteville heavy metal masters, Deadbird, will be kicking off a national tour tonight at The OPO at Urban Table on the Fayetteville Square. The multiple NAMA nominated band will be rightly primed to push off the release of their latest album, Twilight Ritual with a sonic blast. The band will play cities in the Midwest, Texas and the East Coast, including a night at The Knitting Factory in New York. Deadbird is: the Schaff brothers—Chuck on guitar and vocals and Phillip on drums and vocals; Jay Minish on guitar; and Reid Raley on bass and vocals. Expect a thick wall of sound that will keep you going until they get back home.

Showing off the bloomers
Eureka Springs is showing off her bloomers. The town that has been praised for the historic homes tour at Christmas, has scheduled a garden tour of Victorian gardens from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, that promises to rival the wintertime event.
The self-guided tour includes several gardens designed by Glen Wallis, the creative force behind the revitalization of Eureka’s parks in the 1980’s. Along with the gardens, tour guests will be treated to a Victorian home tour, and the chance to see work by local artists, sculptors and craftsmen. DonE Allen and Steven Foster will share gardening tips. Allen is the city gardener and Foster is the author of 15 botanical books. Organizers will be dressed in their finest straw hats and Victorian duds and invite others to dress up, too. Tickets are available for $10 in advance or $15 day of the tour. Proceeds benefit the Eureka Spring Preservation Society Advance tickets are available at the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce (800-6EUREKA) or the Historical Museum (253-9417).

Wingout
Love those wings? Then set your course to the Northwest Arkansas Mall on Saturday, to sample the best wings from area restaurants who will be competing in the fourth annual Wingfest. From 4 to 8 p.m. and for a $5 admission fee, you can munch on wings, enjoy the fun of the wing eating finals and listen to music by Gary and John. The highlight of the day for one lucky person, will be the prize of Harley-Davidson.

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