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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chris Murphy

Sovereign

Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed quite a few releases from Chris Murphy over the years. You can always count on him for quality. The music is generally roots based with leanings toward country and Celtic sounds common. This album definitely fits those descriptions. While this is nothing Earth shattering in terms of Murphy's catalog, it's another strong entry in a catalog with plenty of great music in it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Halfway Around The World
There is a driving Celtic music meets Americana and alternative rock element to this track. It's energetic and a lot of fun.
Bad Situation
I dig the blend of classic rock and country angles on this tune. The instrumental movement has some great exchange of musical lines. This is a strong tune. In fact, as good as the opener was, I think this is even better.
Boxed In
There is a lot more pure country in the mix here. It has a bluegrass hoedown feeling to it. It's a fun tune. It has some classy violin work.
Sovereign
A Celtic approach is as the heart of this track. It has some rich and rather dramatic instrumental interplay. There are interesting twists and turns along the road traveled by this instrumental number. This is actually one of my favorites on the set. It's a great choice for title track.
Done With Diane
Old-time country music is on the menu at the beginning of this tune. It launches into some old-school jazz music from there. This is bouncy and silly and has some alternative folk music built into it. It really has equal parts country and jazz in the arrangement. I dig the retro guitar solo a lot.
Till The World Lifts Its Head Again
I really love the violin work on this piece. The tune combines alternative rock Americana and more into an effective number. It's another highlight.
Pear Blossom
With a lot of bluegrass music in the mix, this is another strong instrumental. It really stands tall, and has some great fiddle playing. It's one of the highlights of the set.
Wind In My Eye
With some roots music in the mix, this is a more modern sounding rocker. The vocals more spoken than sung, and the cut is a nice change.
Three Feet Deep
Here we get another that's more of a rocker. It has some bluesy edge to it, but overall is another alternative rocker. It's also particularly catchy and effective. I love the guitar sound on this.
I Knew It Was Over Then
There is a lot of roots music in the mix on this one. That said, the blues rocking concept is pretty clear, too. The organ solo brings some classy retro textures.
Never The Same
There is a classy Latin groove to this cut. I'm reminded to some degree of something Camper Van Beethoven might do. The cut is so strong and brings some great variety. The instrumental work wandering around in the backdrop of the whole tune is so magical. This is another highlight of the set.
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
A country and folk infused rocker, this is fun. It has some definite alternative pop vibes going on . There is  lot of folk rock in this mix, too.
Hazel Creek
The closer is another instrumental. This piece lives in the shared territory between country music and Celtic. It's another classy number and a great to way to end things.
 
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