As the son of novelist Larry McMurtry, the terrifically somber guitarist and singer James McMurtry
has a rich DNA when it comes to words. From the poignant vignette of “Chocataw Bingo” to the stunning recession rant of “We Can’t Make It Here,” McMurtry captures details to paint an often bleak portrait of life in America. (An early album was titled Where’d You Hide the Body.) McMurtry headlines this year’s EarleFest
, an annual concert presented by the Earle Baum Center for the Blind, but causing an equal amount of excitement is the presence on the bill of Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women
. With a crackerjack all-female band including fiddler Laurie Lewis and dobro and steel-guitar master Cindy Cashdollar, who played on Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind album, Alvin is in especially fine form. The Belleville Outfit, St. Peterbilt, Tone Bent and Three at Last open on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Earle Baum Center. 4539 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. Noon–7pm. $20–$25. 707.523.3222.