Just Us Kids
Label: Lightning Rod Records
James McMurtry has always been a capable storyteller, but it wasn't until 2005's Childish Things that he became known as a political firebrand. He continues this tack on Just Us Kids, but this ain't your daddy's protest music. McMurtry sketches vivid portraits of the shameful aspects of living in America in 2008: corporate greed and warmongering ("God Bless America"), the widening divide between the haves and have-nots ("The Governor"), abusive relationships and addiction ("Fire Line Road"). These are grim laments that McMurty's low purr renders all the more mesmerizing.