Ride Out The Storm
Barn Wall Media
A Golden Voice and a Red Hot Way With Words on his Blue Collar Stories
Well; my dears, what better and more fascinating way to start a New Year than discovering a singer-songwriter getting a second wind that leaves him with the world at his feet?
In this fractured world we now inhabit Murphy opens his latest album with a semi-political song of ‘hope’ in When People Come Together, a song that invokes memories of the counter culture in the late 60’s but couldn’t be more relevant today if it was wearing a a pair of skinny jeans that are torn at the knees. Plus; it’s all the better for Murphy’s powerful, yet world weary vocal performance and a whole lot more here.
While he will probably crop up in the Country section of record shops and/or collections; but Kaz Murphy is the latest in a long list of story telling troubadours that straddle the Country/Folk divide with ease, and in the case of Thunderhead, Somebody Could Be Me and Forget About The World Tonight; he shows good grace and eloquence too.
For a relatively ‘simple sounding’ album, there’s a whole lot going on here and a whole lot to like with not just the subjects Murphy sings about; but the passionate way he delivers his words in the gorgeous Blue Devil Sky, Stella Rae and especially the claustrophobic song for the downtrodden; All I Wanna Do Is Work.
I love the ‘echo’ on Where You Come From, a song that is very close to my own heart although Murphy’s smart words are for and about someone very different from me; but as with the hero of this song, I left my home village 40 years ago, but as Murphy sings:
“Your spirit never really leaves, where you come from.”
Which is why I still tell people that,
“I live in Washington, but come from Craghead in Co. Durham.”
It wasn’t a real surprise to find that Slaid Cleaves’ friend Scrappy Jud Newcomb produced this collection of ‘Blue Collar’ tales; which brings me to the two songs tangling for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song; A Sunny Day and Rise Me Up.
A Sunny Day is a bit of a misnomer for a timeless tale that tips a wink to Johnny Cash in words and delivery, and would have fit perfectly well into Cash’s American Series, where he still alive today.
The other, Rise Me Up features some spectacular mandolin playing (an expression I never thought I would type!) and is a more upbeat, almost Gospel song that closes the disc and just makes my heart pound with life, love and hope, which is why it just about squeezes past the post to be my Favourite Track here.
He’s been around a long time; but Kaz Murphy is a new and exciting find for me and I just hope he visits the UK some time soon, because he will find a warm welcome for his songs in the Americana Clubs that litter our little country, like diamonds in the road.
Released UK January 11th 2019
Released US February 8th 2019