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Toothless Messiah

by Curtis McMurtry

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    Artwork by Megan Anderson

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1/27/17 00:49
how are you adjusting to the new regime? I find that I crave blood I think it might be worth the scars you say it's not there are lines we never cross no matter who's in charge or so you thought and are you still resigned to least resistance while our opponents do their worst embrace divisions and incisions that can never be reversed while we still have our teeth I pray we find the strength to bite for I find I have lost hope but not the will to fight how are you adjusting to the new regime?
you expect subordination unrelenting dedication no regrets or hesitation stay in line we keep our fingers on the trigger selling to the highest bidder you demand and we deliver not this time why should we fight if we can still run and hide? it's too early in the war for you to make us choose sides if you want us to be faithful lay your cards out on the table 'cause even when you think it's stable the world will turn now you think you're in the lead but all we have to do it reach up even if you do not teach us we will learn heroes for profit, promotions for pawns from last to first, but never for long if you've got nothing to offer don't ask us for help we need food on the table like everyone else
here you come to beg and borrow my old fair-weather friend you've known me long enough to ask for favors but we are not as close as you pretend and though you say that we have suffered you still look handsome through the smoke your voice as smooth as honey dripping slowly down my throat (chorus) boy you have jumped into the trap with both feet and now if you fight they will know you are weak the years have not been gentle or forgiving I'm too worn down to push or pull you don't see too many my age lining up to fight a bull so I'm loyal until I get hungry and there's never been enough to go around so if they say your name and offer me the silver you should know I can't afford to turn it down (chorus)
now that everything's on fire you tell us to take our time you say we have no patience I say you have no spine and you are tangled in tradition never daring to offend but if they are not your enemies than we are not your friends (chorus) my teachers taught me not to trust my teachers taught me not to trust my teachers taught me not to trust my teachers they will take it all and you will let them you would have us fall without a fight the leader matters less than the direction being older doesn't mean that you are right (chorus) you don't see it, but you need me to betray you you cannot stand and fight on feet of clay old shadows that refuse to pass the mantle in the light my heroes fade away
is there any other kind of power besides old names on old buildings old friends in new uniforms big fish in small oceans when you fall, no one will catch you get used to starting over don't sink your roots too deep and when they come to cut us down run until they lose your scent some of us will stay behind setting traps feeding on parasites yeah when they come to cut us down I want you to run and don't look back as long as some of us survive we have not lost, we all live on
the cavalry is here but they have already surrendered we turn against ourselves divided by defeat and all that we have built it will not be remembered we will fall together now the wretched and the weak at first we were too proud too slow to notice they covered up the sun still we waited for the dawn and I still hear your voice like a swarm of locusts telling us to compromise 'till everything was gone and turning back the clock it's like bargaining with cancer blinded by belief we took the devil at his word don't bother with your prayers can't you see they have been answered every now and then we catch the hell that we deserve yes every now and then we catch the hell that we deserve
always at your service I'll remain I'm still loyal to the bone and I will break whoever's in your way just tell me where to throw the stone (chorus) my love for you is deeper than the ocean endless, unbending and raw even though you don't need my protection still I guard you like a dog like a dog I believe the people need a leader and a leader needs a strong and steady hand so put me where you think I will be useful I am ready for whatever you command you are not without your faults, but I forgive you and though some may disapprove I know sometimes it takes a tyrant to get the rest of us to move (chorus)
why are you trying so hard to be gentle? how does it feel to be a lion on a leash? all your allies can't wait to bite you and you won't even show them your teeth you tie your hands as if that makes you stronger as if it is noble to crawl but taking the high road's for suckers it just means you have further to fall further to fall your compassion counts against you they don't give medals for restraint they want a monster that can protect them they want a winner, not a saint so kick when your enemy stumbles don't be afraid to get blood on your shoes, boy we're still on the side of the angels and our weapons demand to be used they demand to be used
Saltwood 02:43
you bring out the worst in me so quickly you make the struggle seem like such a thrill you still see yourself in shining armor no matter how much blood you spill and all your misguided disciples drink your fire just as I did before but now I can admit I was mistaken I don't smile at your madness anymore (chorus) your voice is soft, but every word is still a threat gently you close your jaws around my neck the ease of this deception the shadow and the spark smoke and misdirection dreams colliding in the dark and though you never keep a promise still they believe you are sincere you're patient as a spider your intentions just as clear (chorus) there will be some resistance one or two you cannot bend and they will stand against you like leaves against the wind and you will hit them like a train I feel the thunder down the track here in all your crooked glory no one left to hold you back
Dinosaurs 03:04
we would not be here without them obsolete as they may seem all our elders in high places we once rebels with a dream in their day they were tenacious but it's been a tiresome track remember that they moved us forward since today they hold us back once they pushed against tradition but the years have made them tame now they're old enough to struggle for everything to stay the same so though we strive now to replace them have some sympathy as well one day the world will change around us and we will be too blind to tell we would not be here without them though we make the fight our own they were titans of their time and from their shoulders we have grown
we make submission our resistance the only way we've ever known we rise graceful and resilient as flowers growing through the stone so like the pines that fuel the embers we resign ourselves to burn to the fire we surrender from the ashes we return


"Through the storm of our world’s repeated tragedies, rising threats, and scattered anxieties comes Curtis McMurtry’s new album, Toothless Messiah. It’s somehow at once a thunderclap(!) and a hushed, rising flood, flushing out the ugly truths about power and human nature, forcing us to gaze down into the pooled waters at our own reflection."

- Jenny Inzerillo, High Plains Public Radio

"Delivered against the most sinister registers of cello and banjo, and often punctuated by muted horns and booming percussion, the songs evoke the feel of a near-future dystopian novel, a preparation for battle in something uncomfortably close to end times.”

- Stacy Chandler, No Depression

"McMurtry deploys biting critique across the political spectrum, from would-be tyrants and sycophants ("Around My Neck," "Praise Caesar") to hollow-promising reformers and shallow resistors ("Food on the Table," "Lion on a Leash").

- Doug Freeman, The Austin Chronicle


released February 5, 2021

Curtis McMurtry- vocals, guitars, banjo, banjolele, alto saxophones
Diana Burgess- vocals, cello
Taylor Turner- upright bass, bass guitar
Mike Meadows- drums and percussion
Daniel Fears- trombone
Roy Thomas- trumpet
Sterling Steffen- baritone saxophone
Evan Kaspar- pedal steel, leaf percussion on track 10
En Calzada- trumpet on track 6

All songs written by Curtis McMurtry
Produced by Curtis McMurtry
Recorded and Mixed by Evan Kaspar at Estuary Recording Studio in Austin TX
Mastered by Anna Frick at Airshow Mastering
Album Art and Layout by Megan Anderson


all rights reserved



Curtis McMurtry Austin, Texas

Curtis McMurtry writes apocalyptic indie folk about the selfish and the cowardly. Influenced by Fiona Apple and Tom Waits, Curtis' music combines sinister lyrics with sophisticated orchestrations. He specializes in sad songs and mean songs, and considers his catalogue to be "music for people that like to read." ... more

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