About as cuddly as a Texas rattlesnake, singer-songwriter James McMurtry doesn’t do novelty. He says his fast-talking new song “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” is not some kind of lighthearted country rap.
“It’s a speed-freak song,” he tells CMT Edge. “It comes from hanging out in North Texas where there’s just way too much meth. Some of my cousins are strung out on it, and it’s not funny. So sometimes you’ve gotta turn those songs into a cartoon to get to them.”
After a long spell without writing, McMurtry was driving one day when an irritating noise in his dashboard kick-started the song. The annoyance even makes it into the track’s first verse while its frantic main character barrels headlong down the road.
“He’s tweaking his brains out,” McMurtry explains. “He’s looking for his girlfriend — which might be real or imaginary — his whole life is unraveling, his car is coming apart. He’s that character.”
New Orleans-based producer C.C. Adcock backs the story with a unique mix of unusual sounds from banjos to electro-beats and even an Analog Drum Buddy, a sort of homemade drum machine. The song arrives on McMurtry’s first album in six years, Complicated Game, set for release on Feb. 24.
With an equally compelling video full of detail, McMurtry really brings his meth-addled character to life.
“I had a good time driving that old Country Squire around out in the desert,” he says. “It was a great running car. It needed shocks, but the engine ran like a clock. It ran better than I remember those cars running. I mean, it’s a carbureted motor. It shouldn’t run that good. It had no right to run that good, but it did.
“Nobody coached me on the faces. I just reacted to whatever was going on,” he adds. “And then all I had to do was drive, and that’s mostly what I do anyway.”
Check out the CMT Edge premiere of James McMurtry’s feverish video for “How’m I Gonna Find You Now.”