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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chris Murphy

Hard Bargain

Review by Gary Hill

I like Chris Murphy. I've reviewed a number of his albums in the past. I like this set, too, but not as much. It's a live disc. The thing is, the arrangements here are just voice and violin. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is, with such a stripped back musical structure, you need a lot of song-writing variety to keep it interesting. Unfortunately, Murphy's vocal delivery doesn't have enough variety (particularly considering that the vocal lines are too similar from song to song) to pull this off flawlessly. The album tends to drag and feel a bit samey. If you just take a couple songs at a time, though, you can clearly avoid that problem.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Caves of Killala

There is a spoken introduction of Murphy here. The violin paints a picture that calls to mind a vision of Ireland. Around the two minute mark it shifts out to some killer Celtic music with a great rhythmic element. It's almost five minutes in when the vocals join. This is a rocking cut with plenty of Irish music built into it.

Hard Bargain

The violin leads us out on this number, too. This is more of a country rocker..

Ain’t No Place

This one lands very much in an old school country music style.

Bugs Salcido

A bit more delicate, this has more of that Irish element at play. It feels more like a folk cut in a lot of ways. I like this better than the last couple tunes.

Holcombe Creek

Celtic energy and oomph is at the heart of this cut. It has some country built into it, too. Then again, if you really pay attention, old school country music has a lot of Celtic basis to it.

White Noise

Starting a bit mellower, this stomps out into some smoking hot Celtic based music. This is one of my favorites here. The killer violin solo on this really makes it the "must have" piece of the disc.

Last Bridge

There is a healthy helping of rock and roll built into this number. Add in some down home hoe-down music, and you are in the right territory.

Prevailing Winds

A mellower cut, this is much more of a folk styled piece.


A bit of blues element is at play here. It's more folk music overall, though. It gets quite rocking later in the track.


A mellower cut at the start, this is another that lands more in the folk zone.

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