Ride Out the Storm – Kaz Murphy (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

It’s pretty clear from the ‘man and his guitar’ front cover that this is a song centred around the sound of a six string and the male voice, but it’s no Bob Dylan or James Taylor, this is Americana with a dash of bluegrass and gospel to go along with it.

One thing that sets this type of music out is its longevity, a career in blues and country can last as long as the artist can keep producing good songs, the audience grows and changes but often they change with the artist, listening to a singer going through adulthood, raising a family, finding love, losing love, changing towns or whatever life throws at is easy when the listener is going through the same thing so it’s refreshing to hear a song sung by an adult for adults. This is grown up music for grown ups.

Kaz’s voice is a smooth baritone that wouldn’t seem out of place appearing on voice-overs for commercials, it’s comforting and has that grounding that makes you believe every word he sings is true.

From the opening track you immediately feel that this album will somehow pull you in, it’ll start in your feet and then, before you realise it, you’ll be tapping your hand against your thigh and humming a melody for hours afterwards. It’s all very controlled and measured and played by a band who know there place in the puzzle, strong bass, simple but effective drums, the odd smattering of mandolin and slide, all helps build up a good platform for that voice to sit over.

Sure there are moments where things could have been improved, I found myself on more than one occasion thinking a female voice to harmonise would have lifted the whole experience, A June Carter to Murphy’s Johnny Cash if you will, just to give some brightness to that bass, but there are also moments of brilliance; the drum break of ‘Rise Me Up’, the overall groove on ‘Where You Come From’ and how it takes in the different flavours of American music.

This is a record for watching the afternoon turn into the evening, one for reflecting on life’s little triumphs (or defeats) and one for remembering that often the best music isn’t made by eighteen year olds but by artists that have something to say and an audience to understand exactly what they mean.

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