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Chris Murphy

Water Under the Bridge

Review by Gary Hill

Chris Murphy puts out consistently solid releases. His musical styles tend to vary quite a bit, from Celtic music to things like this. This album has a sound palette that stretches from bluegrass styled hoedown music to jazz and folk. Many times at least a couple of those styles are combined in one song. While there are a few pieces here with vocals, most of this is instrumental. All of it is fun and effective.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Moveable Feast
Jazz mixed with a down-home hoe-down kind of vibe is the idea here. This instrumental is retro and very tasty. It's classy stuff and effective opener. This is extensive, dynamic and fun.
Joan Crawford Dances the Charleston
I love the combination of classic old school jazz and hoedown music in this thing. It's another instrumental that's classic in texture, but I like this even more than I did the opener. The bass line is so cool, and the piano solo brings a lot to the table.
Table for Two
The hoe-down element takes control here. This is very much a bluegrass kind of thing. That said, it still has some swing music in the mix. The vocals are more in line with old-school jazz in some ways. That said, there is a bit of a twang to them. The guitar solo is quite jazz-oriented.
Riverboat Blues
Coming in like old-school blues, as other instruments join there is more of an old-school country sound in the mix. This is another instrumental.
I Swear I’m Going to Learn This Time
The vocals here are mainstream pop turned jazz and old school country. This has more of that hoe-down meets jazz element to the musical arrangement.
My Spanish Lover
This one falls into the more jazzy end of the spectrum. It's another instrumental. It's also another classy piece. I particularly like the violin work on the tune.
The Lemon Rag
As the title would suggest, this is very much a rag-time kind of number. It has plenty of hoe-down and jazz in the mix. It's a fun, retro-styled piece. It's bouncy and brings a smile to the face and a tap to the toe.
Benzedrine Shuffle
For me the guitar and bass stand out on this shuffling instrumental. Again, it's a lot of fun.
Tomcat Blues
The vocals have an old-time feel, and that fits well with the traditional music on this number.
Tarbox Blues
A down-home tune that's quite cool, this has some great soloing on it. I love the slide guitar, but the violin really rocks. This whole thing is one of the strongest pieces here. It's a smoking hot instrumental.
Dog Ear Blues
While this starts in a very hoedown type mode, it turns to some of the most pure jazz stuff of the disc mid-track. This is another effective instrumental. There are short bass and drum solos built into this.
Water Under the Bridge
A fast paced jam, this is pretty fully jazz oriented in some ways. That said, there is still some of that bluegrass element here. The piano solo section (with a bass solo after) is pure jazz.
Middleweight Champion
The vocals on this have a twang, but are also rocking. The music seems to showcase that same mix of rock and country music. This is an energetic number that works really well.
Cheer Up Mickey
The violin drives this number. It is a real folk meets country music kind of stomper. It's essentially just a percussive element with the violin over the top. It's quite effective. In fact, it might be my favorite track on the disc.
 
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