About Alex McMurray

  • The most talented songwriter in New Orleans.” —Antigravity 
  • “Tom Waits-ian pathos cut with a Big Easy sweetener.” —Nola.com
  • “One of the best young songwriters in the country.” —Gambit Weekly
  • “He sees things we all see, but shows them in a new light.” —GoNola.com
  • “One of the best songwriters working today.” —OffBeat

If Alex McMurray’s songwriting seems a bit dour at times—okay, most of the time—well then that’s totally intentional. “Like Blanche DuBois in Streetcar,” he says, "I find sorrow to be quite a beautiful emotion. Loneliness can be nice.” And he’d know. A New Orleans fixture since the ‘80s, the guitar slinger is now widely recognized as the embodiment of the downtown New Orleans lifestyle: sketchy bars, cracked sidewalks, fallen-down houses, tattered hearts, broken spirits, discarded chicken bones. He’s often compared to Tom Waits; they both have whiskey-throated voices and share a curious ability to find inspiration in the degenerate, not to mention an obsession with the Ninth Ward. Except McMurray actually lives there.

His latest album, Lucky One, continues his musical celebration of the city he calls home. We can take in the scene from Hank’s Supermarket all the way to the Family Dollar on St Claude Avenue, with a few stops along the way. The new record features his regular band, drummer Carlo Nuccio, Bassist and saxophonist Joe Cabral, pianist and accordionist Glenn Hartman plus special guests Ivan Neville, Susan Cowsill, Alexis Marceaux, Jason Jurzak and Brian Coogan to name but a few. This batch of songs touches on fatherhood (Dear Old Daddy), the privilege of youth (Rag Daze), bygone saloon society (The Blue Room), just-sprung jailbirds (Look Out) and the nature of love unlooked for (The Lucky One). Engineer Mike Napolitano conjures amazing sounds throughout with an unusual blending of lo and hi fi…

McMurray released his first solo album, Banjaxed, in 2004. He is also a member and mastermind of the brilliantly loose sousaphone-washboard-guitar trio, Tin Men, who have released five uncommon albums, Super Great Music for Modern Lovers (2003), Freaks for Industry (2005), Avocado Woo Woo (2013), On the Shady Side (2016) and Sing With Me (2018) blessing New Orleanians with McMurray-style theme songs like “If You Can’t Make It Here,” “On The Shady Side Of The Street”” and “Turn My Lights Back On.” A pantheon of New Orleans performers, including John Boutté, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, John “Papa” Gros and Debbie Davis, has covered his songs.

In 2015, McMurray teamed up with songwriters Paul Sanchez, Spencer Bohren and Jim McCormick as The Write Brothers, whose inaugural album First Flight landed them on the cover of Offbeat Magazine. All of McMurray’s bands are yearly favorites at New Orleans’ Big Easy Awards and Best of the Beat Awards, where Cannonball won Album of the Year in 2010, and McMurray won Best Roots Rock artist in 2014. The Write Brothers’ follow up CD is expected in early 2020.

In one incarnation or another, McMurray has played Jazz Fest every year since 1996, survived no less than two dozen Mardi Gras seasons, and lived to tell the tale in heartbreaking song. He is an organizer of the Jazz Fest season fringe music festival Chaz Fest, and currently plays in countless other New Orleans bands, including the Happy Talk Band, Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers, Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road Show, Greg Schatz and the Friggin’ Geniuses and the Geraniums. He plays solo regularly at Mid City spot Chickie Wah Wah and with the band at Saturn Bar and continues to release solo singles regularly via iTunes and Bandcamp.

Alex's Projects