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Music Review - `Reason To Try` by Shaun Murphy (lm)

Shaun Murphy - Reason To Try  (click on image to watch video)

 18 January 2020



If Shaun Murphy’s name sounds familiar, it could be because she spent 16 years singing in Little Feat. Or it could be her credit on Eric Clapton’s “Behind the Sun” album and tour, or the years she’s spent singing with Bob Seger. Her 20-feet-from-stardom story includes many more instantly recognizable names, but it’s her own versatility that keeps her busy backing up those top talents.

The 14 songs on “Reason to Try,” produced by Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton, Tinsley Ellis) stands as a resounding testament to that versatility. Supported by guitarists Kenne Cramer and Tommy Stillwell, B3 player Eric Roberts, bassist John Marcus, drummer Tom DelRossi, saxophonist Miqu Gutierrez and pianist McKendree, Murphy leaps among genres with astonishing ease.  Blues and gospel form her foundation; from there, it’s not much of a stretch for her to visit funky town, smoky bars, raucous dancehalls or cypress swamps.

Coming right out of the gate with the powerful groove of “Hurt Me Good,” she proves so adept at shifting styles — in a single song — it’s a bit dizzying.

Murphy slips on her chanteuse gown and gloves for the torchy “Thang for You” and “Don’t Come Crying to Me” and laces gospel with jazz in “Dancing in the Sun.”  She pours honky-tonk over the dance-blues of “Can’t Blame Nobody But Me” and the uptempo R&B of “Love the Man,” and waves at Tina Turner in “Turn Me On.” On the soulful “Someday,” Murphy nods to her musical theater background and somehow makes her blues sound simultaneously smooth and gritty on  “Reason to Try.”

It starts to get a bit repetitive somewhere along the way, and the ZZ Top guitar riffs on “Rumor Mill” sound too close for comfort, but all in all, it’s a fine effort from a woman who deserves far more time in her own spotlight.



David McPherson

Lynne Margolis is a Pittsburgher-turned-Texan freelance writer/editor whose work has appeared in: NPRChristian Science MonitorThe GrammyAmerican SongwriterAustin MonthlyLone Star Music Magazine

She covers: Americana and roots music including rock, pop, soul, blues, folk; visual and performing arts/ent; festivals and venues from theaters to museums and streets; food; travel; animal welfare.

To Read All of Lynne's Reviews, Click Here





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