Curtis McMurtry writes songs about villains that believe they are victims. Influenced by Fiona Apple, Billy Strayhorn and Leonard Cohen, Curtis’ music combines sinister lyrics with lush, unconventional 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 was released in February 2017, and continues to garner critical acclaim. Curtis’ music has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and his song “Wrong Inflection” was included in the soundtrack for comedian Tig Notaro’s Amazon Prime series One Mississippi.
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.