The Horses and the Hounds

James McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds
Critic Score
Based on 7 reviews
2021 Ratings: #340 / 736
User Score
Based on 31 ratings
Liked by 3 people
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McMurtry's latest lifts storytelling-in-song to meticulous new levels.
Slant Magazine

The Horses and the Hounds proves that McMurtry’s nearly peerless ability to tear our hearts out with a good yarn hasn’t waned a bit.


His work is full of the messy energy and surprising turns of a life lived hard, and on The Horses and the Hounds, the music speaks as vividly as his excellent songs. Not many artists pushing 60 get to deliver as satisfying a breakthrough as this one.


On his expertly written 10th album, the Texas storyteller delivers some of his most intense and humane work.

Spectrum Culture
McMurtry’s ability to fit entire lives and big ideas into a few minutes reaches a new peak on his latest album.

Upon first listen, The Horses and the Hounds is reminiscent of most other McMurtry albums, but as it unfolds, new textures appear and settle into the mix like they’ve always belonged.


It's good. Not quite up to par with the last three indie label releases, but he set the bar high.


'The Horses and the Hounds' takes a step back to more familiar electric guitar territory for McMurtry but this material seems all the wiser for following the mature and reflective 'Complicated Game'. The most impressive thing with this latest release is just how infectious the melodies are and how it revels in the more rocking instrumentation returning - there's joy in these tunes.

There seems to be a 'spring in the step' confidence and self-deprecating humorous tone in evidence on tracks ... read more


James McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds

Genre: Country Rock
Country: US

Final Verdict: 72% (Very Good Album)
Yearly Ranking: 119th / 1054

Highlight: Jackie (added to my 2021 best of)

Made me think of:
Hayes Carll
Steve Earle
Neil Young


Decent old school country rock album, the storytelling in particular is pretty evocative and detailed in a great way. Could maybe have more solid hooks to truly nail something memorable, but it’s definitely decent, with a couple of genuinely great songs, like the opener and the title track.

Standout: Canola Fields
Favs: The horses and the hounds, What’s the matter, If it don’t bleed, Vaquero
Least fav: Ft. Walton Wake up call

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Added on: June 17, 2021