John Murry’s UK tour still has a handful of dates left. Bringing songs from this year’s superb album ‘A Short History Of Decay’, as well as a brace of older material, Murry’s work is dark and stark. Following on from 2012’s album acclaimed work ‘The Graceless Age’, this new work sees Murry open up a little more with tales of addiction and grief, of pain and despair, but also of redemption and new beginnings. There’s a brooding, Nick Cave style swagger, the despair of Mark Linkous, and it feels, as Murry looks, like it could all break down at any minute. It’s that fragility that makes it so appealing. It’s taut and balancing on the edge of something devastating.
Following the death of American Music Club’s Tim Mooney, who’d helped him put the first album together, Murry relapsed into the chaos of his former self, losing his home, his wife and temporarily, his freedom in the process. A more positive and hopeful future came to him following a chance meeting with Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies, who persuaded Murry to go back in the studio, this time in Toronto. A scratch band of Timmins and his brother Peter (also of Cowboy Junkies), The Pogues’ Cat O’Riordan and Josh Finlayson (bass player of Skydiggers and Lee Harvey Oswald) was formed, and over just five days they completed the record. What they came up with was a curious mix informed by folk and country, blues and Americana, and a musical reaction to Murry’s loose and intense way of writing.
A few years ago, the road led him to Kilkenny, Ireland, where he surrounded himself with music, the one thing that’s never let him down. Exile suits him. The community around him there understand him. They’ve given him the space and the right amount of time to get fixed to bare those bones, and begin exorcising those demons.
In the live setting, that intensity is raw and celebrated. Easy listening it ain’t. These aren’t pretty pictures he’s painting. You’ll find painful honesty, and a performer in confessional mood. His captivating, broken vocal finding it’s natural place in the depths of the subject matter he’s expressing. While John Murry’s work is richly deserving of a bigger stage, you can’t help wonder where that would lead his personal life.
Catch him on the remainder of this tour this week at:
Sept 13 The Lantern, Halifax
Sept 14 Naked Lunch Café, Liverpool
Sept 15 Ty Pawb, Wrexham
Sept 16 Broadcast, Glasgow
Sept 17 Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Sept 18 Telford’s Warehouse, Chester