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Music Review - 'Reason To Try' Shaun Murphy (dm)

Shaun Murphy- Reason To Try

19 August 2019

 

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The opening notes of Shaun Murphy’s record greet the listener with the hospitality of soul music – an authentic expression of the intensity of the intimate experience. Murphy has an impressive resume of experience and achievement in the musical style, given that she is one of Bob Seger’s longtime backup singers. Live renditions for the past few decades of “Night Moves,” “Hollywood Nights,” and “You’ll Accompany Me,” have featured Murphy’s strong, but sweet vocal stylings.

Murphy brings similar heartfelt delivery and avidity to her new collection of 14 songs, “Reason to Try.” She moves her tight and capable band through the rock and roll of “Turn Me On” and “Road House Rockin’”, showing shades of Bonnie Raitt, the blues of “Thang for You” and “Same Old You,” and the old school soul of “Hurt Me Good” and “Reason to Try.” Murphy also gives listener’s an emotive and effective cover of Bob Seger’s deep cut, “Someday.” 

Murphy shouts and snarls her way through the upbeat material, and settles into a softer and soothing delivery on the ballads. Her sense of timing and phrasing demonstrates why she has spent a lifetime in high demand, working not only with Seger, but also Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, The Eagles, and many other high profile bands and artists. She was also the lead vocalist of Little Feat throughout the 1990s.

“Reason to Try,” despite its abundance of attributes, would benefit from a more selective sense of discernment. At 14 songs, the record begins to feel long, especially considering that a few of the blues songs, like some in the rock category, begin to resemble each other on the second half of the record. The productions and arrangements could also have slightly more subtlety. Some of the songs feel like everyone is playing at full blast, creating a challenge of concentration. Turning things down on occasion would spotlight Murphy’s voice more movingly, and create more variety in the songs.

Shaun Murphy gives listeners plenty to enjoy on “Reason to Try,” and although it is on the nose to say, many reasons to try her own music.

 

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

  

 

 


 

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