Putting out a CD is a cool thing. Some singers are in it for the dollar. Others for a quick hit of fame. But Kieran Martin Murphy is trying to give people a good conversation.
With more than 20 years of musical experience under his belt, the former St. Albert singer-songwriter-actor releases his first solo album at the Arden Theatre on Monday, Dec. 9.
The Painter’s Hand is an 11-track of original songs that chronologically makes its way through life from his small-town childhood to love and marriage, to the pain of divorce and back to redemption and joy.
There is a great deal of risk in baring your soul. It could backfire. But if you connect with the audience, it makes for a great interaction.
“It’s my job as an artist to take risks and put myself out there. People who affect you are people who fly on the edge and they give it everything they got. The reason people are attracted to performers like Garth Brooks, Mick Jagger and Ozzy Osbourne is because they throw everything out there. You never know what they’re going to say,” says Murphy who equates risk and sharing to healing.
“Through songs you can say to the audience, ‘I know what your story is. I’ve lived it and I’m sharing it.’ It’s kind of like a support group,” he chuckles.
A powerhouse performer around the Edmonton musical theatre scene for more than two decades, Murphy has made his mark at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. He honed his chops with Pro Coro Canada and VOCE, the a capella experience.
Murphy has performed in musical theatre productions across western Canada, ranging from Cats and Wizard of Oz to the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les MisĂ©rables. But local audiences know him best through The PreTenors, a wildly popular comedic spoof on opera.
The Painter’s Hand, under producer Wes Caswell’s guiding hand, took three years to complete.
“Frankly it’s an expensive process to do it right especially the way I wanted to do it,” says Murphy, whose costs reached above the $15,000 mark.
Nowadays an album can be recorded, mixed and mastered in a month.
“But it wouldn’t have had the quality. If this was the only album release in my life, I wanted it to be the best it could.”
Recorded at a variety of locations including Axe Productions, Murphy pulled in the best musicians for each particular song. St. Albert’s Bruce Mohacsy and Trent Worthington stepped up on keys as well as Steve Hoy (drums), Derek Stremel (mandolin-guitar), Harley Symington (electric guitar), Andrew Glover (keys), Paul Lamoureux (accordion), Martin Kloppers (cello) and Dennis Dufresne.
Unlike most releases that stick to a single genre, Murphy covers a wide range of musical palettes from Celtic and gospel to musical theatre and country.
“I like to sing everything from opera to country and I didn’t see any reason to nail myself down.”
The title song was written for Murphy’s mother’s 75th birthday. He recalls his mother, Johanna, as a strong, vibrant woman who loved to paint and who helped shade in the many tones of his character.
“I wanted to impart the idea of time and that we are all portraits. As we travel through life if you take a glance at somebody you see a picture. But if you take a closer look, that’s when the colours come out. The person who most influences those colours is a mother.”
The album starts off with Westlock Summer, a child’s joyful peek at the world. The songs move into Love at a Glance, You and Me and Mi Amado, a trio that explores young infatuation to marriage.
I’ll Remember You is another ode to Johanna as she slips into dementia while more trouble brews in Long Way Home and The Storm, when divorce hits and darkness descends.
But hope is infinite and Out of the Blue and Music have a joyful vibe. The closing tune is Lurid Acres, a rockin’ celebratory number.
“The album is really about love and family and friendship. That’s why I end with Lurid Acres. No matter how tough life is, getting together with friends is important.”
Song samples are available on YouTube.
Kieran Martin Murphy CD Release<br />Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.<br />Arden Theatre<br />Tickets: $20. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.ca