All Photos By Kim Thompson
Michael Martin Murphey is one of the few artists who crosses a number of genres, including rock, western, country and bluegrass. He entertained the audience at City Winery with songs from all of those genres, including his hits “What’s Forever For,” “Cowboy Logic,” “Line of Love” and “Wildfire.”
Throughout his career, he has moved easily between styles of music, and he does the same on stage, going from “Cherokee Fiddle” to “Saddle Horse and Catch Twine” with ease. The native Texan is a wonderful entertainer, pausing between songs to relate historical information about the upcoming songs or taking the time to inform his audiences about something going on in the West that is dear to his heart, whether talking about his late father and how much he contributed to his career, or explaining why he wrote a song.
Murphey’s show is solid, but don’t expect any theatrics during the hour-and-a-half presentation. The entertainer is all about the music and what inspires him to write the songs and record for his fans. His voice is as clear as Southwest streams, and his love for entertaining and educating is obvious as he weaves through songs that take his audience on a magical trip of Western mountains, Midwest plains, love and loss and mystical tales. The singer had his Rio Grande Band with him, which on this night consisted of his multi-instrumentalist son, Ryan Murphey, who produced his dad’s more recent albums, including the Grammy-nominated “Buckaroo Bluegrass.” Murphey introduced Ryan as “Someone I’ve known all his life.” Gary Roller is Murphey’s bass player of 30 years, but he is also a well-respected Southwestern visual artist, and the singer never hesitates to promote his art along with his musical abilities. Bobby Blazier on drums and Shawn Richardson on fiddle and several other instruments rounded out a band that provided an excellent backdrop for Murphey’s songs.
– Vernell Hackett