New Album Austinology : Alleys Of Austin | Available NOW
Legendary Texan Michael Martin Murphey will celebrate the forthcoming release of his new masterpiece, Austinology • Alleys of Austin.
Fifty years after Murphey helped pioneer the Austin Music Scene (along with Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P. Nunn and more) , his latest offering is a look at the seminal period of Austin’s music history that set the stage for the “Outlaw” movement with Nelson and Waylon Jennings, among others, and the live music scene that is still thriving there.
“Murphey was a key player in the Austin, TX phenomenon,” wrote noted journalist Craig Havighurst for WMOT — The String. “He was a regular at the Armadillo World Headquarters, the iconic venue at the heart of the live scene, where a diverse audience heard a diverse array of roots music, from hard country to traditional blues. Murphey, along with Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and others forged a country-rock hybrid that became the foundation for the progressive folk music field we now call Americana.”
What is most striking about Austinology • Alleys of Austin, is how relevant the songs remain. It is certainly not a trip down memory lane as they clearly illustrate that great songs withstand the test of time.
For Austinology, Murphey chose songs — including some by the likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker — that were important to the late 1960s and 1970s when he lived in Austin and created the “Cosmic Cowboy” era.
Murphey is joined on the project by several artists who were integral to that era as well as those influenced by the work they created.
The songs are given a fresh reading by Murphey and his special guests, including Willie Nelson (on “Alleys of Austin” and “Cosmic Cowboy”), Steve Earle (on “Geronimo’s Cadillac”), Lyle Lovett (on “Alleys of Austin,” “Cosmic Cowboy” and “Drunken Lady of the Morning”), Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison (on “Little Bird”), Jerry Jeff Walker (on “Cosmic Cowboy”), Amy Grant (on “Wildfire”), Randy Rogers (“Backslider’s Wine”), The Last Bandoleros (on Guy Clark’s “LA Freeway”) and more.
Murphey, who plays and sounds better than ever, also enlisted some of the finest players in the world, including guitarist Kenny Greenberg (Nelson, Bob Seger, Etta James), dobroist Rob Ickes (Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill), keyboardist Tim Akers (Dolly Parton, Bruce Hornsby, Jimmy Webb) and more. The album is co-produced with Christopher Harris (CeCe Winans, Amy Grant).
Distributed by Soundly Music via The Orchard, the release date for Austinology • Alleys of Austin is slated for October 19th with the digital pre-order of the album beginning Friday, July 27. The pre-order features both "Geronimo's Cadillac" with special guest Steve Earle and “Outlaw Medley” as immediate downloads.
Austinology : Alleys Of Austin
“I grew up on a steady dose of MMM. My father played his music in our house and he traveled to see Michael many times play in Red River. Michael was one of my heroes as a kid. I was too young to go on those trips and it killed me to not tag along. Singing on this record is a long time in the making and a dream come true for me.”
— Randy Rogers
“Geronimo’s Cadillac is a record I know every second of. It was based on country music, it had a steel guitar, but it really was progressive.”
— Steve Earle
“Hearing 'Wildfire' throws me right back into my high school years when all of music felt like a great discovery.”
— Amy Grant
“Murphey was a key player in the Austin, phenomenon. He was a regular at the Armadillo World Headquarters, the iconic venue at the heart of the live scene, where a diverse audience heard a diverse array of roots music, from hard country to traditional blues. Murphey, along with Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and others forged a country-rock hybrid that became the foundation for the progressive folk music field we now call Americana.”
— Craig Havighurst, WMOT The String
“When he lived in Austin in the mid- ‘70s, he was one of the formative voices and most sophisticated songwriters of the progressive-country boom that defined the city’s music in that era. Murphey originals such as “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Alley’s of Austin” and “Backslider’s Wine” remain among the most graceful and accomplished tunes to come out of Austin’s turbulent country-rock scene.”
— John T. Davis, Austin American State
"Among the early believers of the musical marriage of country and rock, Michael Martin Murphey stands among the tallest. When he played the Armadillo World Headquarters in 1972, Willie Nelson was his opening act. Murphey had a voice like golden rays and a songwriting style that made his visions come alive. His song "Geronimo's Cadillac" will always stand as a door-opener for what soon became Cosmic Country, but for the singer himself it was just another song he'd written that happened to help define the new movement. This collection of 17 songs is a righteous victory lap for Michael Martin Murphey, one where friends like Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Jerry Jeff Walker and more return the favor of his early inspiration with lively duets and pure love. Even though his name is sometimes not featured on the roll call with Willie and Waylon and the boys with others of that mid-'70s era, it doesn't mean he wasn't there turning the first wheels. Listen now and hear what a scene that changed American music sounded like at the start, straight from one of the very first people who helped start it. Time has been very good to Michael Martin Murphey, and Murphey has been just as good to time. The alley survives.”
— Bill Bentley, The Morton Report
"Murphey hasn’t lived here for decades, but the music he made here in his late 20s helped shaped the sound of 1970s Austin. There’s a twinge of melancholy in this long look back on our city’s musical legacy, but it’s nice to hear Murphey take such a deep dive into his past, his warm tenor vocals remarkably as resonant at age 73 as they were back then."
— Peter Blackstock, Austin American Statesman
"Reinventing himself several times over the years, 50 years later Murphey finds himself back where it all started when Willie Nelson was opening for him.
Rather that hit us with another “and then I wrote” kind of set, he looks back at an Austin scene of many years ago and celebrates all the peers that were pillars of it like him. No wonder some of this stuff has stood the test of time so well. When it comes from the heart like this, it can’t/doesn’t miss. This is like a capsule version of the best of Americana. Well done throughout."
— Chris Spector