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A Guitar, A Voice, Good Songs: Marty Murray

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 92% (6 Votes)

Having less than a week ago returned from a one thousand five hundred mile round-trip drive to see James Taylor in concert – and, I may add, not for the first time – I may be forgiven for thinking myself competent to say a few words about the art of the singer-songwriter.

Niagara Falls’s Marty Murray is one of those singers who ought to be better known than he is.  Reminiscent of, but not actually sounding like, Gordon Lightfoot (well, okay, there’s a certain similarity in the voice), Murray has so far given us only one album, 2005’s Ghosts (which you can get from CD Baby).  It’s well worth having if you are a fan of Lightfoot, or Ron Sexsmith, or James Taylor, or Paul Hyde or Beck (though with those last two, I’m thinking of such later, contemplative, mostly solo efforts as The Big Book of Sad Songs and Morning Phase).  In fact, Murray even covers a Sexsmith song, “Train,” with excellent results.

The Sound?

Marty Murray has the classic acoustic-guitar singer-songwriter song.  He has a strong, expressive voice, and his songs are, individually and collectively, powerful and effective.  My favourites are “Desert Winds,” “Celia’s Prayer,” and “When Your Heroes Have All Gone,” but there isn’t really a weak song here – not surprisingly, considering that Murray had been working on this album for quite a number of years, writing the songs through good times and bad.

The Upshot

Look, he’s no James Taylor or Ron Sexsmith, but who is, except those guys?  This is a very good album that I can’t imagine any fan of gentle folk-rock music wouldn’t like.  He’s working on a new album now, and I expect that the intervening years since Ghosts, and the experience they’ll have brought him, will make Murray’s next CD even better.


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