Some Things Just Make Me Happy

Some Things Make Just Make Me Happy

Probably 25 years ago, my buddy Alex Bevan stopped by the house and handed me a cassette tape, (Do you remember those?) and said “You got to check this guy out”! And that is how I was introduced to James McMurtry.

Fast forward and I can assure you I still find McMurtry’s music just as engaging as when I first heard him. I have since bought many of his records and I have seen James perform several times. Regardless if he is with a band or playing solo, he provides a great night of musical entertainment. His guitar work is excellent and his lyrics are off-the-hook. His music is so accessible, that after all these years, going to one of his performances feels like I am checking in on an old friend.

I don’t mind saying I was excited to go see James in April 2022 and walked away from that evening’s solo concert with not only a renewed sense of appreciation for his art but also the unanticipated bonus of finding a new musical talent, Betty Soo.

Ms. Soo was the supporting, or opening act, and just a few bars into her first song, she had, and held my attention for her entire set. I found her vocal delivery strong and fluid, her melodies were engaging and diverse, and her guitar playing superb. I hate to fall victim to the over-used cliche but I was quite frankly blown away.

At the end of the show, I spoke with her at the merch table and took the opportunity to tell her how much I enjoyed her guitar work. She was quite gracious and told me she appreciated that especially as she was fronting a show for such a great guitarist. 

I bought one of her recordings.

Sometimes I can be enchanted with a live performance only to find that a studio recording may be sterile and lifeless. A few months later, I got around to playing “Insomnia Waking” and was instantly pulled into Betty Soo’s music once again.

I am one of those folks who can listen to a song a dozen times before I get past the music and actually start hearing the lyrics, and in subsequent plays, I found Betty’s lyrics to be just as strong and engaging as her melodies and guitar playing. As a singer songwriter, she is simply the whole package.

Two years later, April 4th, James McMurtry returned to NE Ohio and I was delighted to see that Betty Soo was again his supporting act, Just as before, she performed a wonderful show. She was joined by James for several songs during her set. She reciprocated by joining him with his band for several tunes as well.        

Betty is an Austin song writer, with a witty, seasoned stage patter. She comfortably references her Korean heritage and relates how some family members ask if she is still doing that “music thing”. Relaying an underlying sentiment that that she might grow out of this. She made a hilarious comparison between a trade worker being “prepared” with a junk filled pickup truck while a woman can be teased about the size of her purse.

She is a very petite person with a big personality and in spite of her physical size she has total command of her dreadnought and jumbo sized guitars.

Of course her music is on all streaming platforms, but you can also buy her products directly from her website at

She has a wonderful website that is easy to navigate and full of options to enjoy her music and art. And I recently discovered Betty has been working with another remarkable folk music icon, Chris Smithers. 
It makes me extremely happy to come across such an inspiring talent that is finding well deserved recognition and success. 

And Figuratively speaking, thank you Mr. McMurtry for “introducing” me to Betty Soo.  

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