Not exactly a cover but it certainly sounds like John Martyn wrote this song, or is it Nick Drake and was Richard Thompson in the room – and does it matter? The problem (if it is a problem) is that having heard this sound for the first time in the late sixties and early seventies as a new sound, now fifty years later (yes fifty years have gone by) this music, however soulful, honest, passionate and lovely it is, it can’t stop me longing for originality – I can’t hear him for them. Otherwise, well otherwise it simply doesn’t resonate in the same way as it did the first time around.
But perhaps if you are eighteen or thirty eight, and with so much music buried in the past, or if you see all music as a thriving creative pool where everyone is influenced by everyone else, then, perhaps this music is as great as the talent that Murdoch obviously possesses. Or is it simply repeating tradition? The difference for traditional Folkies in the sixties was that they were looking for traditional songs, looking for old songs and preserving them, but when the singer-songwriters came along they brought their own compositions to the table, telling their own stories. Later, artists such as Kate Rusby have mixed traditional songs and new compositions without conflict and without seeming to emulate a particular artist from days gone by whilst maintaining their roots in a historical sense.
Murdoch was born In England in 1973 to a Greek Father and grew up in Greece till he was ten before moving to Scotland to his mother’s Scottish/French roots. It’s fascinating to think that Nick Drake had made his last album Pink Moon in 1972, a year before Murdoch was born. (John Martyn had made seven albums by 1973). Murdoch moved to the US to study in 1992 and found support via KCRW’s Nic Harcourt, an influential voice on the radio in Los Angeles. Now back in Europe, Alexi Murdoch seems to be that modern man, intelligent, sensitive, caring about the environment, probably the nicest fellow you’ll ever meet at a festival. In his music, he has captured precisely the essence of an age and perhaps those singer-songwriters of the sixties and seventies have become the traditional music of the future, spreading their beauty, a message of peace and preserving Grandma’s recipe exactly to the word, guaranteeing the most satisfying dish for those that weren’t around to experience the original creation.
Whatever you think, it’s an absolute must if you like this kind of thing, although his EP from 2002 simply called Four Songs might be a little more than you want to pay if you want an original CD. His first album Time Without Consequence 2006 and his second album Towards The Sun 2011 are surely still available without breaking the bank.
All My Days is the opening track from the first album and his songs have had unprecedented success on TV shows and somehow managed to resist major label temptation (he has been the biggest selling artist on CD Baby). His anonymity or at least his lack of visibility, has kept him well hidden from me at least and probably preserved his vision and his independence. Sometimes even the talented ones fall through the cracks in a world where so much music is available but in his case it’s a positive best kept secret.
Time Without Consequence will be available on a limited vinyl release of 500 black and 500 white pressings in April.