Chris Murphy

REVIEW: Chris Murphy “The Road And The Stars”


Chris Murphy – The Road And The Stars

This is a lively set by Los Angeles violinist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Murphy who has constructed an expressive set of potent melodies over the years. Starting with “Sailing the World Alone,” with his fine Americana voice & radiating musicians. It has its listenable qualities in balance with its danceable invigorating elements. Virtually impossible not to smile & tap your foot while listening to this kind of music.

Chris Murphy

Originally from the New York City area Murphy already has 19 acclaimed solo LPs that dip generously into folk/country/roots rock/Celtic/jazz/blues & world music. With The Road And The Stars (Drops June 16–Teahouse Records) Murphy unleashes several wickedly good retrospective tunes compiled & recorded between 2016-2018.

Murphy has appeared on many major artists’ albums throughout his career.

There have been other prominent violin/fiddle players through rock & country music – Scarlett Rivera (discovered walking on a street by Bob Dylan), a classically-trained violinist Patty van Ness (Private Lightening), Richard Greene (Sea Train), country-fiddler Doug Kershaw, Allison Krauss & even the late John Hartford. It’s a sound that will always colorize a fine tune whether a lead instrument or a featured one. And Chris Murphy is one of the best at this.

Chris Murphy

Murphy has his serious songs & more mainstream commercial attempts (“Kitchen Girl”) which are entertaining. The bands that use lots of fiddle/violin usually prescribe to fiery melodic runs & Chris is quite adept at this approach as are the Oysterband & Spirit of the West. Progressive rock bands like King Crimson & Van der Graaf Generator.

But the music of Murphy is rooted in a more traditional manner & each piece is constructed with melodic sawing & garnished with a musical complexion that is smooth & substantiative. “Small Wonder” meets the balance between being traditional, mainstream & sounding complex. The energetic run-through on those little strings is like a spark on the end of a fast-burning fuse.

The live “Caves of Killala” is included on this CD & the electronic edge added to Murphy’s violin is a haunting sound like a strong wind blowing through deep crevices. Chris does it all with ease & transcends the old-fashioned manner in which we associate a violin. If I had heard this kind of violin playing when I was young I may have finished my lessons.

Highlights – “Sailing the World Alone,” “Connemara Ponies,” “Last of the Twickham Blackbirds,” “Small Wonder,” “Caves of Killala” & “Hard Bargain.”

Images courtesy of Chris’ website. CD @ Bandcamp +

Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Chris Murphy Two Rivers Crossing

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