James McMurtry is nothing like a glass half-full guy — just listen to his voice. Better yet, pay close attention to his words. This disc’s title track describes the dead-end fate of parking lot stoners, whereas “Cheney’s Toy” crowns our vice president an evil king. Cheney is the target of McMurtry’s vitriol, but the woman who turns to drugs in “Fireline Road”, just to get by, earns the singer/songwriter’s tender empathy. But McMurtry is back to his old pessimistic tricks on “Ruins of the Realm”, which bemoans the American South’s sad future. It’s doubtful anyone will feel particularly good after listening to Just Us Kids, but you’ll likely be better informed when all is said and done. McMurtry cuts through all the crap when describing the state of America these days. Call McMurtry’s music what you will, just don’t call it kids’ stuff.