New Music of the Day – CXC: Hard Bargain – Chris Murphy

Chris_Murphy_Hard_Bargain_CoverFolk music, roots music, world music, Americana…all terms which only go a very small way to describing what Chris Murphy does, for in many ways they are terms far too loaded down with implication to do the job efficiently. This is about seeing the wood for the trees, and Murphy’s wood is as much about small film vignettes, cinematic scenarios made into song and theatrical live performance, as it is about song writing traditions.

That he is a virtuoso on the violin is a given, a charismatic performer…check, a deft and dexterous song writer, another tick in the box, but it is the story telling and live charm which runs through his performance that links him more to the troubadours of old than the recording artists of today. Though obviously he nails that job description with ease as well.

The music is addictive, charismatic, communicative and fun, Murphy is bold, sassy and infectious and the whole package is a great reminder that when it comes down to it, some of the best music happens when the artist uses simple musical lines to conjure vivid images. It would seem that substance over style, and indeed artistic sustenance over musical snacking, is back on the menu.

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