Musician Dez Murphy has enjoyed a long love affair with blues music, going back to his jamming days in London during the eighties and beyond. The Cavan born singer/songwriter now hosts his own sessions in Monaghan; something which he has been doing for over twelve years.
His passion for the genre isn’t limited to live performances though, as his new album, Callin’, demonstrates. Handling writing, vocal and guitar duties himself, Murphy collaborated with drummer Howard Hughes and bassist Steve Ward to complete the record at Outland Studios in County Tyrone.
Beginning with the title track, a rousing rock and roll riff trucks merrily into an upbeat melody. This enthusiastic opener wastes no time in showing off the accomplished instrumental skills that are prevalent throughout the compilation. Following on from here, “Goldfish Blues” features a frantic introduction that acts as a preface to fun and fervent vocals. It’s a bright and colourful composition that maintains a nice optimistic energy as it unfolds.
“All About the Moment” is a fast paced and lively effort, brought to life through arresting guitars and a cheerful harmony. The fierce and forceful riff of “Whatever Turns You On” succeeds it, adopting a little bit of a country flair. Its infectious rhythm and coarse vocals penetrate deep as they move forward. “Just Another Oh’ Baby” announces its arrival afterwards via jazzy instrumentation and a funky melody. This playful piece is loaded with passion and vigour.
A more reserved riff gets “ A Dozen Red Roses” going ahead of piercing vocals. Gentle percussion sets in during the verse to help forge a soft and affective ballad full of stirring instrumental cues that make for a pleasant listen. “Ride With Me” explodes out of its wake with furious guitars and proceeds to charge along through a frenzy of agile vocals and speedy instrumentation. The relentless rhythm and rapid momentum are very absorbing.
“No Mind Reader” is another steady and purposeful number that stomps along determinedly before “Bo Diddley” tramples in upon pounding percussion. An enthralling bass line and boisterous guitars soon join in and pave the way for a heartfelt melody. It’s a chaotic undertaking that’s replete with personality and adept instrumental segments. Once it’s done, “Same Old Time” calms things down with a bracing acoustic riff that strolls into a relaxed harmony. Developing very gradually, it serves as a restrained and resolute finale.
Dez Murphy has put together an exciting and distinctive collection of songs. While it’s marketed as a blues album, Callin’ is actually fairly diverse and samples a number of styles, meaning that its appeal shouldn’t be limited to fans of any one particular genre. With elements of rock, pop and country thrown into the mix, there’s something here for most people to enjoy.