Music Scene

Mississippi artist Andrew Bryant will perform Sunday at the The Royal American.

Andrew Bryant is a son of Mississippi. That may have little meaning to some, but to music lovers and the native Southerner, it exists as a presumption of one’s grasp on authentic blues, soul, gospel and rock ’n’ roll, all of which once cradled in the swamps and fields of the Deep South’s harshest state.

That gamble pays off with Bryant, the mild-mannered drummer, co-singer and other half of the indie rock duo Water Liars.

For his part in Water Liars, Bryant formed the band only four years ago with guitarist and singer Justin Kinkel-Schuster after the pair met while on tour with respective bands. The duo recorded its debut in a small Mississippi mill town with one microphone, a small collection of instruments and a kinetic energy that spun out an entire album in three days. “Phantom Limb” wove painful yarns in the spirit of heady, brooding literature, yet managed to steer itself away from generic, pretentious predictability typically associated with modern indie music. NPR, Vice, Spin and others praised the debut, and Water Liars has since gone on to release “Wyoming,” an even more acclaimed follow-up, and toured with Mountain Goats, Drive-By Truckers, The Felice Brothers and others.

In January, Bryant released his sixth solo album, a 10-song collection that plays like a kind of melancholic alt-rock ode to classic country, circling the haunt of Hank Williams’ darker side. The success has enabled the 34-year-old to leave the sawmill behind, where he worked with his father, and embark on a full-time career as a music artist.

Andrew Bryant will perform Sunday at The Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive, with Faline and The Gunshy. Tickets are $5 at the door. Go to or call 817-6925 for more information.

It’s been something of a whirling fairy tale for blues-rock guitarist and singer Samantha Fish lately. In the past four years, the 25-year-old Kansas City, Mo., native has ascended from being the secret guitar phenomenon of her native blues and barbecue circuit to an opening act for Buddy Guy, a member of the all-girls blues trio Girls with Guitars, assembled by — as strange as it sounds — Germany’s award-winning blues label Ruf Records, and a solo artist with two albums to her name since 2012.

Fish recorded her latest effort, “Black Wind Howlin,’” in Maurice, La., under the guidance of Mike Zito and accompanied by his Royal Southern Brotherhood bandmates, the Grammy-winning percussionist Yonrico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooten.

Samantha Fish will perform Saturday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway. Tickets are $12 and are available at the door or online at Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; show starts at 9:30 p.m. Go to or call 571-4343 for more.

Being the son of a widely respected novelist and screenwriter isn’t an easy lineage to get away from, but rather something of a shadow that becomes impossible to step out of regardless of what you choose to do with your life, or how well you do it.

No one knows this more than folk singer-songwriter James McMurtry, whose father, Larry McMurtry, has written or co-written such acclaimed works as “Terms of Endearment,” “Lonesome Dove,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Last Picture Show” and become one of the most celebrated Old West writers of our time.

McMurtry doesn’t seem to mind the attachment, though; after all, it was his father who gave him his first guitar at age 7, and it was on the set of one his father’s movies, “Falling from Grace,” that James slipped a demo tape to musician and sometimes-actor John Mellencamp, which led to his first big break as a songwriter.

But it wasn’t entirely his father’s success that flung him to the top of folk and Americana songwriters. The Texas-born, Virginia-raised McMurtry spent his early years struggling, as most aspiring artists do, and worked more often as a house painter, bartender and waiter than as a musician.

His luck turned in 1987, when he won the New Folk Songwriting Competition and enjoyed the post-demo upswing that led to him joining Buzzin’ Cousins, a short-lived band with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely and Dwight Yoakam.

He has since released more than 10 albums, won numerous AMA awards and compelled Village Voice music editor Robert Christgau to declare his 2005 track “We Can’t Make It Here” to be the best song of the 2000s.

McMurtry released “Complicated Game” earlier this year, an album that has been hailed as a “masterpiece” by Rolling Stone, earned four and a half out of five stars from American Songwriter and has already become his most commercially successful record thus far, reaching No. 4 on the U.S. Folk chart and No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

James McMurtry will perform Monday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Max Gomez. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door or online at

Doors open at 8 p.m.; show starts at 9 p.m.

Go to or call 571-4343 for more information.