Outsider Anthems: ‘If It Don’t Bleed’ by James McMurtry

by Clayton Edwards
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The team at Outsider strives to provide a common ground where everyone can converge. We’re all about bringing good folks together on this grand American journey. I feel like James McMurtry wrote our theme song when he penned “If It Don’t Bleed.”

McMurtry covers two things in this song that we can truly get behind. He talks about acceptance and picking your battles. We know how important both of those things can be to a happy life surrounded by solid people. That’s why “If It Don’t Bleed” is this week’s Outsider Anthem.

James McMurtry included “If It Don’t Bleed” on his 2021 album, The Horses and the Hounds. About the inspiration for the song, he told American Songwriter, “A cousin of mine, who has been to hell and back on cocaine once told me, ‘If it don’t bleed, it don’t matter.’”

The Horses and the Hounds is a killer album, front to back. However, the first time I heard “If It Don’t Bleed,” I knew it was an Outsider Anthem. The chorus sealed the deal.

Save your prayers for yourself. / Raise my glass to your health. / I don’t mind if you don’t look like me. / I can share my bread and wine. / I come from another time. / It don’t matter all that much if it don’t bleed.”

Writing Is in McMurtry’s Blood

James McMurtry is an acclaimed Texas singer-songwriter. He released his debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, back in 1989. Since then, he has released a total of 10 studio albums, a compilation, and two live records. The one thing that ties all of those records together is McMurtry’s stellar songwriting. His songs tell stories and look at life through an Outsider’s eyes.

There’s a good chance that some of that writing skill is hereditary. He is the son of the late Larry McMurtry. The elder McMurtry wrote several novels, including Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove.

Then again, James started writing and playing at a young age. By now, he’s been honing his craft for over four decades.

We Don’t Mind If You Don’t Look Like Us

James McMurtry didn’t know he was packing “If It Don’t Bleed” with Outsider energy, but he did. The verses are pretty much life advice from someone who lived it all. Some of our more wizened staff can get behind the message, for sure. However, it’s the chorus that really speaks to our spirit.

I can nail it down to a few lines, though. “I don’t mind if you don’t look like me / I can share my bread and wine / I come from another time.” To be honest, we could damn near change our brand mission to these lines and it’d be spot-on.

We don’t discriminate. We’re all about the everyday American who knows the value of hard work and carries a lust for life. Those are our people and we’re more than willing to share what we have with our tribe. At the same time, we’re not ones to let the little things come between us. If it doesn’t bleed, we can brush it off.

More from James McMurtry

If you liked “If It Don’t Bleed,” give The Horses and the Hounds a listen. The whole album is stellar. I highly recommend “Ft. Walton Wake-Up Call,” and “Blackberry Winter,” though. Also, if this is your first time hearing his music, do yourself a favor and check out James McMurtry’s most popular song, “Choctaw Bingo.”

Outsider.com