About Dave Murphy

On his appropriately titled album American Landscape, Dave Murphy is both a lonesome-voiced Troubadour who sings like a heart newly bruised by distance and longing and an astute observer and chronicler of the American condition. He narrates his tales with wit and brevity. On "Fading Taillights," Murphy plays the role of the lover choosing to jilt rather than be jilted. Murphy evokes the time and distance of the lost American highway and the poignant role it plays in every American songwriter's imagination. Half a lifetime of the travel, stories and portraits he has experienced finally has distilled into this lush and resonant collection titled American Landscape.

When talking about some of his earliest musical experiences, he'll mention listening to his Dad's 60's record collection and recalling pivotal moments; like being mesmerized by the poetry and mystery of Bob Dylan’s early recordings and being drawn in by the Rickenbacker guitar sound and vocal harmonies of the Byrds. Sure, he listened and loved the music of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Stones, but it wasn’t until he heard Neil Young’s seminal classic Harvest that he found his inspirational mother lode. Later, discovering the world of both classic and “new traditionalist” country music that WHN radio introduced to New York City (from Merle Haggard and George Jones to Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle), the American tradition of story and song became Dave Murphy’s compass.

Experience: Stages & Support

He’s traveled the honest career path of the troubadour, from the open-mics and showcases in Greenwich Village to earning opening spots for artists such as Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Ray Wylie Hubbard and even author/punk rocker Jim Carroll. He eventually found himself on stages with Suzanne Vega, Alejandro Escovedo, Slaid Cleaves and Steve Forbert—who makes a guest appearance on Dave’s third album, Chasing Ghosts—at venues and festivals including the Living Room (NYC), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Knitting Factory (NYC), Speakeasy (NYC), Southpaw (Brooklyn), Union Hall (Brooklyn), Tin Angel (Philadelphia), Maxwell’s (Hoboken, NJ), Outpost in the Burbs (Montclair, NJ), the New Jersey Folk Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, and Wildflower Music Festival to name a few. Dave has also had success with music placements in film and television as well as AAA and Americana Radio.

The making of American Landscape

“I felt I had some good songs and decided to put my energy towards my performance and put the production side of things in someone else’s hands. My first call was to Ben Wisch. Ben had the cred and the chops of a top producer and engineer and the 2 GRAMMY awards to go with it. What was even more important to me was the warm, positive atmosphere that Ben fostered in the studio. I’ve never been more comfortable and relaxed making a record; not getting hung up on trying to be too perfect. I think the organic, natural flow of this record is a great representation of our experience making it.

​Why the title American Landscape? Yes, a bit lofty, I know, and although it was not my intention at the outset, the songs on this record are linked by a common thread rooted in the American experience. They share a sense of place, both literally and metaphorically, in what might be called the “American psyche.”

I’d been spending alot of time listening to Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs record “God Willing & the Creek Don’t Rise” and thought the band would be a great match for this new batch of songs. As it turned out, both LA based drummer Jay Bellerose and bass player Jennifer Condos were available. So was Boston based guitarist Kevin Barry. And so the Pariah Dogs (Bellerose, Condo & Barry) along with the amazing talents of Glen Patscha on keyboards and Lucy Kaplansky on vocals, became the musical foundation of American Landscape. Ben gave them all the freedom to express themselves with minimum guidance. The result is a backing band that always played in service of the song, a cohesive sound and some really stellar musical moments. This turned out to be the album I have always wanted to make. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy it.”  - dm