... except when he's writing songs. In the My Spilt Milk podcast, Alex McMurray talks about his process, and explains how performing with a washboard and sousaphone affects his playing.

Photo of Alex McMurray

Alex McMurray is healthily cautious talking about himself. It's an occupational hazard, but it's one he undertakes with a note of self-deprecation. He's quick to share credit or recognize the accomplishments of others, and when I asked him in his Bywater home about how often he played in a week or month, McMurray pointed to Tin Men bandmate Matt Perrine as the real iron man who plays far more often than he does.

McMurray is one of the artists who has benefited from the largesse of Threadheads, releasing two albums of his own on Threadhead Records and one as The Tom Paines with Jonathan Freilich. His most recent, I Will Never Be Alone in This Land, touches a lot of musical bases, all of which are clearly a part of New Orleans' sound in 2013 without being too firmly rooted in one sound. For that reason, the album sounds contemporary with acoustic blues, traditional jazz, brass band music, and more.

During our conversation, we periodically had to wrestle one of his cats, which was determined to walk on my keyboard, and perhaps go to sleep there. We never let it get to that point, but I think you'll hear us talking about the animal's relentlessness a time or two during the conversation.

Alex McMurray plays the Gentilly Stage at Jazz Fest Saturday at 11:25 a.m.