James McMurtry has spent a career touring and singing his story-oriented songs like “Choctaw Bingo,” “Copper Canteen” and “Just Us Kids.”

These songs sound big and full with his backing band but McMurtry has also learned that solo gigs are sometimes needed. When the Texas-based singer-songwriter uses up the neighboring states, he will fly to other shows. It’s isn’t something he particularly likes.

“I like doing one (solo) show a week, not five solos in a row,” he said. “It’s easier to do two months out with the band than two weeks out solo because you have that band energy. It’s more like circular energy as opposed to linear energy when it’s just you and the crowd. A lot of times you can’t tell if you’re getting to (the audience).”

McMurtry has a long history of Asheville, N.C., performances and will add another to his list as he and his band plays at 9 p.m. Friday at The Grey Eagle with Bonnie Whitmore as the opener.

McMurtry is winding down a full year that included an opening stint with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. The folk rock and Americana singer began his recording career with 1989’s “Too Long in The Wasteland” and hit No. 33 that year on the Mainstream Rock chart with “Painting By Numbers.”

McMurtry is the son of famed novelist and screenwriter, Larry, who wrote the legendary “Lonesome Dove.” The son admits that he learned “nothing” about songwriting from his father.

“He writes prose. Prose is a different muscle from verse,” McMurtry said. “I don’t try to write prose.”

His songs, though, have a prose-like feel as they often contain stories about characters who may or may not be from McMurtry’s imagination.

It’s been several years since his last full-length release, titled “Complicated Game,” and McMurtry hasn’t fully begun to write for a new album.

“I’ll probably get on that in January when the road runs out,” he said. “I peck away at the cellphone. The iPhone has really helped my writing. I don’t have to sit around and do my homework anymore. I just write when I feel like it no matter where I am … I finish just enough (songs) to make a record. I write a bunch of scraps, but rarely sit down and finish them.”

One new song that he has recently released was a politically charged track called “State of the Union.” It was a song that Rolling Stone described as “a stunningly fiery folk song, McMurtry’s 'State of the Union' spins the story of an all-American family torn apart by the same issues that plague the country at large.”

It’s a song with a narrator who is at odds with his family’s right-wing views and it’s release comes at a time where familial discourse over politics isn’t unheard of. McMurtry said he has had some fans walk out of shows when it is played.

“It’s interesting. The rednecks seemed to take it better than the uptight suburban liberals,” McMurtry said. “I don’t know what it is. It tends to make people a little uncomfortable, which is OK because I’m a little uncomfortable most of the time these days. It all came from things I'd seen and heard, but not at one place."