Kaz Murphy’s Ride Out the Storm (Barn Wall Media) is an inspiring poetic journey of empowerment. It was produced by Scrappy Judd Newcomb at The Zone in Dripping Springs, Texas. The album features Murphy on acoustic guitars and vocals; Scrappy on guitars, mandolin and back up vocals; Pat Manske (drums and percussion); Jon Notarthomas (guitars, bass and back up vocals) and Penny Jo Pullus singing back up vocals.
This is one of those albums of good ol’ classic country style songwriting over clear instrumentation, where you can hear everything just where it needs to be. Murphy played drums with the illustrious poet Allen Ginsberg, and Murphy’s simpatico poetic vision is evident in his songwriting.
“I’ve been thinking about Tom Joad” he sings on the album opener and title track, evoking the classic Grapes of Wrath. “When people come together.” The next song creates similar imagery and tones with “He built that house with his bare hands.”
On “Blue Devil Sky” we imagine the worried lines on the face of a boy’s mama, after his father left them. “Thunderhead” is acoustic guitar with pedal steel and muted percussion supporting a tale of pending rain in Southern California.
“Soft Heart” lays down more of a classic country bass line, with spoken word lyrical delivery. “Some people living hard lives want to step out of the dark, if you want to do it right try living with a soft heart.”
“Stella Rae” is an up tempo song about a girl who becomes a woman who’s lost something in the process of “trying to score.”
The album closes with a rousing uplifting song: “Rise Me Up.” We’ve journeyed with Kaz Murphy through hard times, hands-on struggle, poverty, addiction and the necessity of a loving heart to keep rising up. At this point you’ll want to rise up and order the album.