Keith’s new CD Suffer No Loss now available
In the style of early classic recordings of the traditional English and Celtic music revival, this is a beautifully spare album of old ballads and folk songs from Newfoundland and New England. Drawing the focus to these great texts, Keith’s direct singing style is complemented with highly crafted guitar playing in a range of tunings.
Now taking orders
CDs are $15 plus $3 shipping, (any number of CDs). Online orders, click on the ‘cart’ button. Or send a check to Keith Murphy, 104 Washington St Brattleboro, VT 05301
On the Banks of Coldbrook: Songs from the Hills of Vermont
Keith spent a couple of years working with Tony Barrand, the great traditional English ballad singer on this repertoire of songs from the Atwood family. The Atwoods had lived in Dover, Vermont (near our home in Brattleboro) in the early 1900s. Their songs were collected by Edith Sturgis and published by Schirmer in 1919, a major music publisher that seems to have taken an interest in folk song for a period of time. Vermont folk singer, Margaret MacArthur sang these songs for a while but they seem to have been otherwise untapped. Many of the songs are rare versions of traditional ballads and Keith’s harmony singing and sensitive piano playing are a perfect counterpoint to Tony’s inimitable vocals. Becky adds beautiful fiddle parts on several tracks. Singout Magazine published a lengthy article of Tony’s describing the detailed history of this project.
Bound for Canaan
Keith’s first solo CD, Bound for Canaan, came out in July of 2005. A great collection of traditional songs from Eastern Canada and New England spanning both the English and French sides of the New World. The arrangements are beautifully layered with double guitars, fiddle and flute in the spirit of the celtic revival without the weight of overproduction. And the directness of Keith Murphy’s singing maintains the true spirit of traditional music. This is a unique contribution to the world of recorded traditional song.
The new Ken Burns’ documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, features three tracks from this classic recording – The Black Isle, Evergreen and Finistere, all three composed by Keith Murphy. They all appear in dramatic moments in the final episode.
After years of committing herself to the ensemble work of Nightingale and Wild Asparagus, Becky and her fiddle stand center stage on Evergreen with a supporting cast of her favorite musical companions. The instrument groupings are generally small and the arrangments spare, but exquisitely tasteful. Becky’s fiddle floats over the shifting swirl of accordion (Jeremiah McLane), flute and bombard (David Cantieni), Irish pipes (Benedict Koehler), clarinet (Bill Tomczak) and Keith Murphy on guitar, mandolin, piano and French Canadian foot percussion. Irish dance tunes, bourrees, mazurkas from France and Scandinavia, crooked tunes from French Canada. And the intensely beautiful, unforgettable title track waltz. A seamless web of great fiddle playing.
Any Jig or Reel
Any Jig or Reel: A great collection of New England and French Canadian dance sets. The CD is a production of New England Dancing Masters, an organization that produces many materials for community dancing. And Any Jig or Reel was designed as a recording that could actually be used for dancing New England style contras. It is very traditional playing featuring Andy Davis on accordion, Becky on fiddle and Keith on guitar, piano and foot percussion. It is great playing and a wonderful source for musicians looking for a source for expanding their repertoire of traditional tunes. A couple of Keith’s tunes are also here – a reel (Rare ) and two waltzes (Over the Ice and Summer Haze).
Becky and Keith played with the trio, Nightingale for 18 years, from 1993 to the summer of 2011. The band enjoyed a devoted following and influenced scores of other musicians and bands with its highly sophisticated arrangements of traditional music. With Jeremiah McLane (piano and accordion) the trio forged four classic recordings featuring traditional and original songs and instrumentals from Ireland, France, Scandinavia, Newfoundland and Quebec. The band’s first recording, The Coming Dawn (1994) captured the fresh, raw energy of the band as well as establishing Nightingale’s sophistication as players and arrangers of an eclectic mix of traditional music. Less than two years later came Sometimes When the Moon is High. More musically complex and more tightly arranged, this album won the band cudos from a wider audience. Three, released in June 2004 reflected Nightingale’s past while also breaking new ground. It drew more extensively on original compositions from band members Jeremiah McLane and Keith Murphy and continued the evolution of a wonderfully creative band. Jolie, came at the end of 2009 and once again spanned from intense, high energy dance music to chamber-like pieces of introspective beauty.
Becky and Keith with Wild Asparagus…
Wherever You Go was Becky’s second recording with her long-time band, Wild Asparagus (her first album with them was From the Floor Up). She rocks on some of the up tempo dance tunes. Wherever You Go also included Keith as guest collaborator and several of his tunes are featured. These include his co-writing of the title song with David Cantieni.
Wild Asparagus: Live at the Guiding Star Grange.
This is a two CD recording of two evening dances at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, MA, which is HQ for Wild Asparagus. It’s a unique recording, really capturing the energy of a live contra dance. Once again, it’s a great showcase for Becky’s dance fiddling and Keith is a guest on many tracks. Many of Keith’s tunes are included such as On the Danforth, Farewell to the Taliban, Northwest Reel and The March of Poetry.
Keith with Childsplay: Waiting for the Dawn
Keith has been a mainstay in Childsplay now for many years. This is a band comprised of fiddlers who play instruments made by the great violin maker, Bob Childs from Boston, MA. The group also includes other instruments and Keith’s guitar and piano playing have become part of the backbone of the group. This is Keith’s second recording with Childsplay and it features a mighty rendition of Keith’s tune, Sam Sam Amidon. It’s a 7/8 piece and Childsplay performs it with incredible drama. Check it out on YouTube
Keith with Assembly
(formerly Popcorn Behavior)…
Three very distinct CDs from this band. Strangest Dream, Keith’s first recording as regular member of the band, included Keith’s singing of several songs and an eclectic range of material – many original compositions but also a tango, a South African piece, a tune from Panama and a song from Macedonia. The January EP is almost suite-like. Five extended instrumentals use hypnotic grooves and swells of minimalist improvisation to create a piece with a unique place in contemporary traditional music. Other Side of the Tracks comprised the apotheosis of the band’s time in the world of contra dance. Heavy grooves and cresendoing layers of sound. Another New England Dancing Masters production, this recording features dance length medleys.
not currently available
Keith with Ruthie Dornfeld…
Ways of the World pairs consummate dance fiddler Ruthie Dornfeld with brilliant harmonica player Joel Bernstein, accompanied by Keith’s propulsive Celtic rhythm on guitar. Also, a couple of great songs from Keith – Drunkard’s Doom and Bon County. “Frankly, this breath of fresh air is exactly what I search for in the world of traditional
acoustic music…innovative, provocative, great melodies and superb arrangements among players who know what the hell they want to sound like.” -Ray Edlund, KPFA Radio
This is the sequel to the first Black Isle Music collection – 10 years of tunes, from achingly beautiful waltzes to gritty dance tunes and much in between. Including an appendix of select tunes from Becky Tracy and Aidan Murphy!
Now taking orders.
$15 each plus $3 shipping for any number of books.
The Black Isle Music tune collection
The first book of original music by Keith Murphy, published 2001
This book includes tunes recorded by Nightingale, Assembly (Popcorn Behavior), Wild Asparagus, Big Bandemonium, Childsplay, and Becky Tracy on her solo recording, Evergreen. There are half a dozen waltzes of varied flavor, a bunch of jigs and reels, a couple of airs, plus a few oddities.