Michael Martin Murphey to perform in Grand Junction | PostIndependent.com

Michael Martin Murphey to perform in Grand Junction

Sharon Sullivan
Promoting his new CD, "Red River Drifter," singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey will perform in Grand Junction on Friday, Feb. 7.
Joe Owenby |


WHAT: Michael Martin Murphey concert

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Recital Hall, Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University

COST: Reserved seating $35 and $30

INFO: 970-243-8497; http://www.sandstoneconcerts.com

Singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey will bring his banjo, guitar and harmonica — and perhaps his concertina (a small squeeze box accordion) — when he comes to Grand Junction on Friday, Feb. 7, for a performance at the Moss Performing Art Center’s Recital Hall.

Murphey is known for such iconic hits as “Wildfire,” “Carolina in the Pines,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Cowboy Logic,” and Cherokee Fiddle.”

During Saturday’s concert, Murphey said he will emphasize songs from his new album, called “Red River Drifter.”

Released in July, the CD’s songs have a “real connection to Colorado,” he explained. The first tune in particular, “Peaceful Country,” is about the lifestyle Coloradans love.

Like a lot of musicians, Murphey grew up in Texas on Gospel music. He listened to people like the Blackwood Brothers Quartet and the Stamps Baxter Quartet. He started singing at 4 years old; his first performance was in church.

Then his uncle turned him on to bluegrass music.

“My uncle was a farmer and he collected records — lots of bluegrass,” Murphy said. “He gave me a stack of 78s when I was a kid. I bought a tape recorder and recorded it all. I learned all that stuff.”

Those artists included such icons as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Woody Guthrie and the Louvin Brothers.

Murphey’s songs reflect his lifestyle — “I’m a cowboy and a rancher and I write about it,” Murphey said. He and his family raises and trains working cow horses.

He spends most of his time between his ranch in Beulah, Colo., and Red River, N.M. — where Murphey performs a series of concerts in the summertime.

“Rolling Stone” magazine once called Murphey “one of the best songwriters in America.” His songs have been covered by such artists as Lyle Lovett, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Hoyt Axton and others.

Murphey has topped the pop, country, bluegrass and Western music charts with his songs, and has earned six gold albums and multiple Grammy nominations.

He performs 200 concerts a year, although not all those shows are far from home. He’s often back at the ranch at the end of the day. Murphey plays a lot of concerts locally around Beulah and Red River and at a 1,000-seat amphitheater on La Veta Pass in south-central Colorado that’s accessible only by the Rio Grande Scenic Rail Road.

“The train’s pretty cushy — it’s a nice ride out of Alamosa,” he said.

Murphey also started a nonprofit that is in the process of restoring some old cabins near the railroad where he plans to sponsor writing retreats — not just for songwriters, he said, but for all types of writers.

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