the james and justin show

Who said there is nothing to do in Lexington on a Monday night? Not the good folks at the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, that’s for sure. They’ve got a beaut of a show on tap to tape tonight at the Kentucky Theatre: a double Americana bill featuring singer/songwriters James McMurtry (above) and Justin Townes Earle.

McMcMurty has long displayed a great flair for the narrative. And why not? He’s the son of celebrated Western novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry. But over the past two decades, James has issued one extraordinary set of worldly themed rural life snapshots after another. The political slant of his music has become increasingly pointed, as well.

A regular visitor to Lexington over the years (he’s played The Dame, High on Rose and Lynagh’s Music Club several times), tonight marks his first local performance since the release of what just might stand as his finest album, Just Us Kids. Rather than repeating myself ad nauseum, I’ll refer you to the critic’s pick 15 entry of The Musical Box for a full review. Let’s just say the record is a gem, one of the best so far in 2008, for sure. And that only ups the anticipation of tonight’s show, which will likely be devoted to the new songs. 

Earle (left), of course, is the son of Americana “hard core troubadour” Steve Earle. But a listen to The Good Life, the younger Earle’s debut album on the indie insurgent country label Bloodshot, reflects a life less amplified. There’s no Lone Star drawl to Justin’s singing, no brazen electric overtures, just a deep folky tenor with a flair for stark, conversational tales (like Lone Pine Hill and Far Away in Another Town, which recalls the late Townes Van Zandt, who Earle is partially named for), a hearty groove (the neo-Jamaican South Georgia Sugar Babe) and traditional country elegance (the Ernest Tubb-flavored Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving).

If you miss Earle this time around, be patient. He will be back for a full set this fall at the Christ the King Okotoberfest. Keep Sept. 20 open.


James McMurtry and Justin Townes Earle perform at 7 tonight for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main. Tickets are $10. For reservations, call (859) 252-8888.


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) January 8, 2006 | MISS CONDUCT My daughter’s future in-laws have offered to contribute to the cost of her wedding. My husband and I are considering accepting but have not yet discussed how much they would give. It will probably be a few thousand out of a total wedding budget of approximately $25,000. How will this change the wording on the invitation? At what point does the invitation switch from the “bride’s parents request the honor” to both sets of parents? I want to be fair to them. G.B. /// Milford Naming an exact amount makes the situation sound less as though you are accepting a generous offer and more as though you were soliciting a corporate sponsorship. “And for $10,000, you can get a half-page ad in the program and your logo emblazoned on the wedding cake!” This is not an appropriate attitude. go to website essing wedding invitations

You can choose to be traditional about the invitation’s wording, in which case only you, as the bride’s parents, are mentioned. Or you can choose to be egalitarian and list both sets of parents on the invitation (the bride’s first; egalitarianism has its limits). But the decision should be based on your values and aesthetics, not on whether the future inlaws have ponied up enough cash to get themselves mentioned. My recommendation would be to accept their donation if you believe they sincerely want to help out. It would also be nice, regardless of how much they give, to put them on the invitation if they would like to be so named (i.e., if they are not terribly traditional themselves). They did, after all, provide the groom, which I’m sure your daughter considers a significant contribution.

A friend and I agreed to dog-sit for each other, but the last time her dog stayed at my home, he had several accidents, chewed furniture, and destroyed two rugs as well as his own bed (which I paid to replace). Since my friend was on her honeymoon, I was hesitant to mention all of the problems. I don’t want to dog-sit for her again and could use some advice on how to handle this situation. J.M. /// Exeter, New Hampshire You did the right thing by not spoiling your friend’s trip with news of canine malfeasance, and a heroically right thing it was, too. But now that the honeymoon is over, so to speak, you should be upfront about what happened. Your letter indicates that you’ve had this dog at your house before, and presumably he behaved well on those occasions. If there’s been a change in his behavior, then your friend, as a responsible and caring pet owner, will want to know about it. A well-trained dog who suddenly goes off on a destructive spree is telling his people that something’s wrong, and your friend needs to figure out what’s got Buster’s tail in a twist.

You can start off by saying that you know the situation is an awkward one, and that you aren’t telling her these things to make her feel guilty. (After all, it’s not as if she was, from her cruise ship, sending the dog telepathic commands to gnaw on the coffee table.) Then, as calmly and objectively as you can, describe what Buster did. Your friend may want to pay you for some of the damages. If she offers, it would be kind of you to accept, since this will ease her conscience.

Once you’ve explained what Buster did, you can then reasonably say that you’re not comfortable having him stay with you again. Your friend will almost certainly understand and may well say something to that effect before you do. (It would be hard for her to relax on a trip if she’s constantly worried about what havoc her dog might be wreaking.) If she asks you to give him another chance, and you feel inclined to do so, set some conditions. You might, for example, want to keep Buster confined to a crate whenever you couldn’t be in the room with him.

The most important thing is to have this conversation soon, so that your friend has plenty of time to investigate alternate arrangements for Buster’s care. It would be terribly inconsiderate to let her think everything is fine, and then tell her a week before she plans to leave town that you won’t be housing her hellhound anymore.

A friend of mine got an invitation to a surprise housewarming shower being thrown by the guest of honor’s sister and some friends. The invitation asked guests to purchase gift cards or certificates at specified stores and to bring food items. To me, this sounds extremely tacky, and the hosts are acting as though this new homeowner, who is in her 40s, is a charity case. How appropriate (or inappropriate) is it for these people to throw such a party? A.D. / // Danvers It depends on what age you are. If you are a baby boomer or older, it is “extremely” inappropriate; if you are a Gen-Xer, it is “way” inappropriate; and if you are Generation Y or younger, it is “mad” or perhaps “hella” inappropriate. At no age is it a good idea to shake down your friends for money and consumer goods to support the lifestyle that you have freely chosen. I hope your friend politely declines the invitation. go to website essing wedding invitations


If you’re prone to forgetting what you want to say while others are talking, teach yourself the sign-language alphabet. Then you can hold your hand in the position of the first letter in the main word you need to remember – “M,” if you want to ask someone about their mother’s health, say. Cuts down on forgetfulness and interruptions.


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