Saint Mary of the Woods

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Kenneth Bays
The best and worst you can say about James McMurtry's sixth album is that it's not a drastic departure from his previous five. His storytelling is still sharply observed, his straightforward rock still compelling, but what starts out as a certain sonic consistency becomes oppressive over the course of ten tracks. Granted, there are a few new developments: the production is a degree more lush and atmospheric than McMurtry's previous albums, especially on the achingly gorgeous "Dry River," which is nearly cinematic in its sense of place. And for the first time, he's tackled a genuine epic with the rambling family reunion tale "Choctaw Bingo," driven by a chugging guitar riff...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Kenneth Bays
The best and worst you can say about James McMurtry's sixth album is that it's not a drastic departure from his previous five. His storytelling is still sharply observed, his straightforward rock still compelling, but what starts out as a certain sonic consistency becomes oppressive over the course of ten tracks. Granted, there are a few new developments: the production is a degree more lush and atmospheric than McMurtry's previous albums, especially on the achingly gorgeous "Dry River," which is nearly cinematic in its sense of place. And for the first time, he's tackled a genuine epic with the rambling family reunion tale "Choctaw Bingo," driven by a chugging guitar riff and Earl Poole Ball's sparkling piano. But he's also dispensed with the loose, danceable rhythms that elevated the best tracks on his last two releases to the status of heartland funk; nothing here, save "Choctaw Bingo," makes you want to shuffle your feet. Some tracks are so melodically stark they dispense with chord changes altogether; "Red Dress" burbles along on a single motif for five minutes, while "Lobo Town's" stiff, near-robotic rhythm aims for faux-metal crunch but winds up bearing an unfortunate resemblance to, of all things, Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love." Lyrically, McMurtry is as tough as ever, tossing out deadpan descriptions of automobile accidents and other tragedies in rhyming couplets. And when he does try something different, as on the knowing, oddly gentle "Gone to the Y," the results are beautiful. Still, the eternal solidness of his songwriting aside, Saint Mary of the Woods is the album on which McMurtry's standard formula finally starts to sound like too much of a good thing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/17/2002
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891107127
  • Catalog Number: 1071
  • Sales rank: 42,199

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Dry River (5:02)
  2. 2 Valley Road (4:45)
  3. 3 Saint Mary of the Woods (6:14)
  4. 4 Out Here in the Middle (4:21)
  5. 5 Lobo Town (5:44)
  6. 6 Broken Bed (4:54)
  7. 7 Red Dress (4:59)
  8. 8 Gulf Road (4:31)
  9. 9 Gone to the Y (3:45)
  10. 10 Choctaw Bingo (8:33)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
James McMurtry Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals, Slide Guitar, Guitar Effects, Vocal Harmony
Ian McLagan Organ, Wurlitzer
Lisa Mednick Accordion
Earl Poole Ball Piano
Stephen Bruton Bass, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Guitar (Baritone)
David Grissom Guitar
Daren Hess Cymbals, Drums, Shaker, Tambo Drums
Paul Pearcy Percussion, Drums, Maracas, cowbell, Tambo Drums
Randy Garibay Jr. Vocal Harmony
Ronnie Johnson Bass, Guitar Effects, Vocal Harmony
Myra Spector Vocal Harmony
Technical Credits
James McMurtry Producer
Daren Hess Sound Effects
Ross Hogarth Producer, Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Paul Pearcy Sound Effects
Fred Remmert Engineer
East Side Flash Engineer
Gary Isaacs Cover Photo
Kent Hitchcock Engineer
Adam Odor Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not as good as "It had to happen"

    This album takes a few times to grow on you. It is much darker than any of James' previous. It is the only album where any of James' lyrics begin to repeat themselves. He is such a great storyteller why repeat a line? I heard him the first time. But it's still a wonderful album, I've been waiting 4 years for it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews