Chris Murphy announces new album

Chris Murphy

For 25 years, and with no sign of slowing, violinist Chris Murphy has made a living by writing, performing and recording original music. For Murphy, the path forward is charted by looking backward, to the troubadours and minstrels of ages past. Forget the exaggerated reports of the music industry’s demise. It’s only the record industry, a relative blip in the history of putting tones in sequence, that’s suffering. Music, and the opportunity to make a life’s work out of it, well, that’s not going anywhere. “In another era,” he says, “I would have played square dances, and loved it. I would have been a court musician in Versailles in the 17th Century, or a violinist in a circus orchestra.” For Chris Murphy, inspiration spans eras and aesthetics, but the fundamentals are the same.

Born into an Irish-Italian family near New York City, Murphy was surrounded by the disparate and eclectic sounds of his neighbours’ traditional music. “I heard and was influenced by everything – from Italian-mandolin music, to bluegrass and folk, to Latin music,” he says. Inevitably, he discovered rock ‘n’ roll, claiming still further influence from some of rock’s most adventurous and eclectic icons: Lou Reed and Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan and Richard Thompson. “My real hero,” he says, “was David Lindley. Hearing him play fiddle and lap steel with Jackson Browne – that kind of esoteric, enigmatic soloing over songs is originally what I loved.”

As he searches for new ways to communicate through music, fusing styles and techniques from across the globe – a unique fabric of world music, he calls it – Murphy finds his element on the stage, where spontaneity and improvisation reign. “To me, the music is liquid, and I’m looking to have some kind of experience.” he says. “I’ll twist and turn and hammer and mould and shape cut and paste the music to do that. We’ve never done a song the same way twice.” As ever, Murphy re-forges the past to make a new way.

Violinist and songwriter Chris, known widely and well to his fellow Los Angelenos, Seattle-ites and New York denizens alike, has been stoking his distinctive alchemy of Celtic, gypsy, jazz, roots and post-punk music over the course of some dozen original and acclaimed albums. He’s earned plaudits from roots, indie and acoustic-centric outlets alike. No Depression, the vaunted journal of roots music exclaimed:

“9 out of 10 stars! Track after track, Murphy shows why he is one of the best songwriters in popular music and unjustly flying under the mainstream radar.” (Red Mountain Blues review).

Murphy’s latest album of fresh original material, the bracing ten-song live solo set Hard Bargain, finds him back in the sweet spot between J.J. Cale and John Cale, Vassar Clements and Chris Whitley, conjuring the Irish rebellion of 1798 to a jugular jig in ‘The Caves of Killala’; chasing the spirit of Charlie Patton on the plaintive ‘Trust’; investigating the intrigue of a 19th-century murder ballad on ‘Holcombe Creek’ and shuffling in the groove between Springsteen and Chuck Berry on the jump-blues ‘Last Bridge’. Is it possible to suggest the avant-surf echoes of Tom Verlaine’s Television can coexist with a violinist’s take on White Stripes-style garage-blues? In Murphy’s world, it certainly can.

Recorded on a rainy night at a small theatre in Boise, Idaho, with just Murphy’s insistent foot stomp and tales of gun-running, insurrection and doomed miners to accompany his fiddle, you’d be forgiven for thinking that time had stopped; the violin, especially in able hands that suggest gypsy divination, has always had a preternatural way of fusing the past with the present. But with Murphy’s own postmodern approach to those antique rhythms and the storytelling instinct that drives these rustic tales, the effect may be as much to foretell the future as to celebrate the past.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Chris Murphy – Hard Bargain link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.chrismurphymusic.com

‘Cape Horn’ – official video:

Chris Murphy announces new album of original fiddle music

Chris Murphy

Have you ever had the feeling that a perfect moment could only be made more so if it had a soundtrack? From misty strolls down forgotten trails, to laughter-filled pubs bursting with dance and joy, to that moment when you look at someone and realize for the first time that you’ve fallen in love with them, The Tinker’s Dream provides a stellar musical landscape for thousands of those ephemeral moments, and so much more.

Chris Murphy’s ‘Connemara Ponies’ gallops to the warm smack of a bodhran drum-here played by Celtic Woman’s Andy Reilly while the flutes and violins echo the buzzing of bugs and birds in a long-ago dream of old Ireland. But while Uilleann pipes usher in the stirring ‘Union of the Seven Brothers’, marshalling an insistent rhythm that certainly pays homage to traditionalists like the Chieftains, elsewhere Murphy’s impressive ensemble suggests the Pogues’ more acoustic moments, and the roll-neck romance of Sixties folk-rockers like Fairport Convention and the Incredible String Band.  And while ‘Gibraltar 1988’ might signal a journey to points south, it’s a sea voyage to that mighty crag that only an Irishman (in Murphy’s case, Bronx Irish) could muster, pointing his violin bow toward dramatic waves of rolling acoustic guitar, droning double bass courtesy of the Waterboys’ Trevor Hutchinson and sea-worthy penny whistles. Displaying at turns a brooding gravitas, at others a free-flowing heartfulness, Murphy’s Tinker’s Dream is a myth in the making, an imaginary soundtrack as at ease in a Tolkien landscape as at a South Boston watering hole, or wherever Irish ears are smiling.

For 25 years, and with no sign of slowing, violinist Chris Murphy has made a living by writing, performing and recording original music. For Murphy, the path forward is charted by looking backward, to the troubadours and minstrels of ages past. Forget the exaggerated reports of the music industry’s demise. It’s only the record industry, a relative blip in the history of putting tones in sequence, that’s suffering. Music, and the opportunity to make a life’s work out of it, well, that’s not going anywhere. “In another era,” he says, “I would have played square dances, and loved it. I would have been a court musician in Versailles in the 17th Century, or a violinist in a circus orchestra.” For Chris Murphy, inspiration spans eras and aesthetics, but the fundamentals are the same.

Born into an Irish-Italian family near New York City, Murphy was surrounded by the disparate and eclectic sounds of his neighbours’ traditional music. “I heard and was influenced by everything – from Italian-mandolin music, to bluegrass and folk, to Latin music,” he says. Inevitably, he discovered rock ‘n’ roll, claiming still further influence from some of rock’s most adventurous and eclectic icons: Lou Reed and Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan and Richard Thompson. “My real hero,” he says, “was David Lindley. Hearing him play fiddle and lap steel with Jackson Browne – that kind of esoteric, enigmatic soloing over songs is originally what I loved.”

As he searches for new ways to communicate through music, fusing styles and techniques from across the globe – a unique fabric of world music, he calls it – Murphy finds his element on the stage, where spontaneity and improvisation reign. “To me, the music is liquid, and I’m looking to have some kind of experience.” he says. “I’ll twist and turn and hammer and mould and shape cut and paste the music to do that. We’ve never done a song the same way twice.” As ever, Murphy re-forges the past to make a new way.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Chris Murphy – The Tinker’s Dream link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.chrismurphymusic.com

‘Song For Che’ live: