Curtis McMurtry writes about villains that think they're victims. Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Cohen, Curtis' music combines piercing lyrics with lush chords and unusual arrangements. His first solo album Respectable Enemy was released in August 2014, and drew comparisons to Calexico and John Fullbright. His sophomore album The Hornet's Nest is was released in February 2017, and continues to garner critical acclaim.
Curtis was born and raised in Austin, Texas and grew up listening to local musicians Warren Hood, Ephraim Owens, Seela, and his father, James McMurtry. Curtis studied music composition and ethnomusicology in college, primarily writing contemporary chamber music for banjo and strings. After graduation, Curtis moved to Nashville to sharpen his songwriting by co-writing with elder statesmen including Fred Koller and Guy Clark. He has since moved back to Austin where he performs as a quartet with cellist Diana Burgess (of Mother Falcon), upright bassist Taylor Turner (of Magia Negra) and trumpeter Nathan Calzada.
"Simply put, at 23, McMurtry's dark and deep debut solo album, Respectable Enemy, marks him as a world-class talent who not just stands on his own merits, but soars on them."
- Thomas Gerbasi, New York Examiner
"The second album by McMurtry shows its conceptual ambition in the way it coheres, exploring a range of emotions through a variety of personae. From the vulnerable innocence of the opening “Hard Blue Stones” through the corpse picked clean on the closing “Silver World,” the 13-song cycle shimmers through the desires and flaws of a shared humanity. ." - Don McLeese, No Depression