James McMurtry frames a politically divisive middle American family on his latest single “State of the Union.” Now, the singular songwriter aims directly at the president as he watches the COVID-19 pandemic grow. McMurtry recently expanded on his recent Rolling Stone Op-ed for us.

“I must ask you, Mr. Trump,” the longtime Central Texas resident says. “Can our economy and your political ambitions absorb two million dead Americans? Do the math, for once, and ask yourself, 'How many people do two million people know?' Two million dead will leave a lot of living who remember.

“This pandemic would be a trial under any president,”McMurtry continues. “(but I fear it’s more of a trial under no president. No one is truly presiding over our government at this time. We don’t have a Roosevelt fighting off fear itself, we don’t have an LBJ with a flashlight under his chin promising help to New Orleans after a Hurricane, we don’t have Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter in hazmat suits walking through Three Mile Island to show their faith in the scientists that saved the east coast. 

“We don’t even have George W. Bush, who after cowering in the rabbit hole on 9/11, pulled himself together, crawled up out of the ground, went to Ground Zero and did his level best to do the job of being president, being there for us. All we have is a real estate pirate trying to save his businesses and his political future.

“Trump says this country wasn’t built to be shut down, as if any modern country was built for such. There is open talk of having to balance dollars against deaths.It’s true, we might not be able to weather a depression in our time. The last one was weathered by people who were born in the nineteenth century and had seen depression before. The country was largely rural, the supply chains were more localized, but are we to just give up and let people die so their grandkids can waterski?

“And to you, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, I must ask, what if the virus takes one or more of your grandchildren rather than yourself? A virus can mutate quickly. The U.S. has seen quite a bit of coronavirus infections in young adults. Children have died from the virus. You don't get to tell the virus whom to kill. Would you risk burying one of your grandchildren to keep from being called a socialist? I will humbly await your answer, sir.”


Chart Climber - Western Centuries

Artist: Western Centuries

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Album: Call of the Captain

Release Date: April 3, 2020

Record Label: Free Dirt

Artist Website:

Band's musical approach:

“I had been in Donna the Buffalo for twenty years and my role in that was rhythm guitar and harmony singing. I didn't want to be the backup dude anymore. My thought was, If I'm gonna do this, I want to contribute to the material in a more meaningful way.” – Cahalen Morrison

- Brian T. Atkinson