John Ashley Murphy | Midstream

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Folk: Alternative Folk Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Midstream

by John Ashley Murphy

Loping and galloping original harmonica instrumentals influenced by Appalachian fiddle music and 70s San Francisco rock.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Otter People
2:21 $0.99
2. Pumpkin Eater
2:01 $0.99
3. One Back Step (feat. Christopher Leva)
2:50 $0.99
4. Sweeping the Dirt Yard
2:40 $0.99
5. New Hot Springs Creek
3:09 $0.99
6. Midstream (feat. Christopher Leva)
4:13 $0.99
7. Crazy Maggie
1:14 $0.99
8. Servant's March
2:31 $0.99
9. All Paid Up
2:37 $0.99
clip
10. Husking Bee
2:11 $0.99
11. Jack and Jill
2:16 $0.99
12. Spinner
2:13 $0.99
13. Texas
2:17 $0.99
14. Crossing the Creek
2:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Midstream presents the energetic, colorful sounds of rock/folk harmonicist John Ashley Murphy. Murphy's style combines the drive of traditional southern fiddling, the fantasy of California rock, the azure soul of the harmonica, and the playful quirkiness of Murphy's preadolescent mind. This debut album contains fourteen instrumentals, including twelve original compositions written for harmonica. Moods range from urban dance pump to the crisp clarity of a mountain stream, and from rockabilly jump to blues overdrive.

Helping create these varied soundscapes are guitarist Christopher Leva and other notables from Charlottesville and central Virginia, including tabla master Loren Oppenheimer and banjo wizard Dan Rublee. The first track, Otter People, opens with acoustic guitar strumming an innocent rockabilly shuffle met explosively after four bars with electric bass and harmonica. Later in the album, Sweeping the Dirt Yard features this same rock trio instrumentation. Many of the tunes are purely acoustic, but the title track, Midstream, is an electronic dance groove, complete with kick drum, tablas, watery bass, clavinet, and ebowed electric guitar. Perhaps the most unique track, One Back Step is a mélange of gritty blues tones, primal frame drum, and low-pitched guitar runs that grunt from the shadows.

Murphy is known in Virginia Appalachian music circles for his mastery and spirited interpretation of traditional fiddle tunes. He was also a founding member of the world music ensemble Baaba Seth, in which he played soukous and other African guitar styles on harp. In the words of columnist Derek Halsey, "John Murphy . . . has the amazing ability to play old time fiddle tunes on the harmonica, playing not only the high-powered lead fiddle [lines], but [also] any other riff that an instrument might throw into a session. Add to that his sense of dynamics and lightning speed, plus a few blues ‘schwaws’ in the mix, and you have an incredible display of musicianship."

Principal musical collaborator and producer Christopher Leva is also a fixture in Virginia Old-time music, but is more widely know to regional audiences as the leader of several reggae, folk, and rock bands including Positive Collective, Greenhouse, and The Guano Boys. Leva and Murphy play together in the Faster Than Walking string band, a mainstay in Charlottesville's Old-time scene.

Behind the boards, Leva brings a production sensibility reflecting an intimate understanding of Murphy's music. The harmonica is recorded with openly-spaced paired microphones, giving Leva a range of choices for the instrument's presentation in the mix. Mouth harp is played from the diaphragm, and in these recordings we at times we hear the percussion of Murphy's raw breath. Additional sonic colors are supplied through imaginative and tasteful effects by engineer Shallel Ken Inglima.
_______________________________________________________________

Song Credits:

1) Otter People: Stuart Holme, electric bass. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar and percussion. Written by JAM.

2) Pumpkin Eater: Dan Rublee, banjo. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

3) One Back Step: Loren Oppenheimer, frame drum. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar and percussion. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Written by JAM and Christopher Leva.

4) Sweeping the Dirt Yard: Stuart Holme, electric bass. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

5) New Hot Springs Creek: Dan Rublee, banjo. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

6) Midstream: Loren Oppenheimer, tablas and frame drum. Shallel Ken Inglima, clavinet; Joe Mead, fiddle. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Written by JAM. Arranged by Christopher Leva and Shallel Ken Inglima.

7) Crazy Maggie: John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

8) Servant's March: Zack Blatter, acoustic bass. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

9) All Paid Up: Joe Mead, vocals. Christopher Leva, vocals and acoustic guitar. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Written by JAM.

10) Husking Bee: John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Traditional/Gary Hawk.

11) Jack and Jill: Dan Rublee, banjo and acoustic bass. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

12) Spinner: John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

13) Texas: Dan Rublee, banjo. John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Traditional.

14) Crossing the Creek: John Ashley Murphy, harmonica. Christopher Leva, acoustic guitar. Written by JAM.

Production credits

Recorded, mixed and mastered in 2014/2015 at Nappy Valley Studio, Lovingston, Virginia. Produced by Christopher Leva. Engineered by Shallel Ken Inglima.


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Reviews


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Pete Marshall

Sunset Road's Best Folk Albums of 2015
Another local, one of my favorite harmonica players, John Ashley Murphy finally puts out his debut solo cd, with much more than the old time music we are used to hearing him play with Charlottesville old-time band Faster Than Walking.
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Dan Greenwood - Sing Out! Magazine

Fiendishly Talented
John Ashley Murphy is a fiendishly talented harmonica player who’s only recently gotten around to releasing his debut album, ‘Midstream.’ While the influence of his blues and rock roots is evident in his playing, John’s involvement in the Charlottesville old-time scene (with band Faster than Walking) has affected his repertoire and composition significantly. The album is full of charming tunes that straddle the line between old-time and blues, with his harmonica playing fronting guitar and banjo accompaniment with occasional percussion. A great inrto to the record is his tune ‘New Hot Springs Creek,’ a relentless groove showcasing his remarkable breath control and fluidity in the harmonica’s lower register. At just over two minutes, it’s too short, but fortunately there’s an album and then some to listen to on John’s SoundCloud page.
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