You know that band that plays all of that great east coast music, who play at The Cove and around the area? The band that people love? That's Chris Murphy's band, Turpin's Trail (web link). Chris has a superhuman ability to be able to connect the present with the past and keep it fresh. He remembers lyrics like Bob Dylan can and makes darn sure you can decipher with his clarity. The tradition of the east coast runs strong through his own songs and the ones he interprets. It's no wonder that artists like David Francey and Sean McCann have recruited him as a musical sideman in their acts over the last few years! Ladies and gentlemen, here he is, Chris Murphy! Come see him solo on Friday, June 21st at The Cove from 5-8pm (web link).

Seamus Cowan: Since I have known you, you have been a well established, highly skilled and vivacious musician on the local music scene. Your ability to connect to the audience is subtle and honest and you do it so well. I suppose the nature of the east coast music genre which you favour, helps you in this regard?

Chris Murphy: I appreciate that you consider my connecting to the audience as honest and subtle. As a natural introvert, it’s a little bit of a contradiction for me to gravitate towards a career in taking the stage. But I grew up listening to performers that told stories with their songs and genuinely connected with their audiences. From Stan Rogers to Great Big Sea, Garth Brooks to David Francey, I’ve always loved people who weave stories with their songs.

Q: For over a decade now, you have headed an authentically east coast folk group with your brother-in-law Jon McLurg (Westport, did you know that?) called Crooked Wood, which became Turpin's Trail. You clearly have a connection to the Maritimes and its music. Can you give us a peek into that part of the story?

Chris: It surprises a lot of people to find out I have no familial connection to Atlantic Canada. I don’t pretend to be from the East Coast (born and raised in Sydenham!). The very first professional band that I joined was headed up by a Newfoundlander and it was called Shores of Newfoundland. Not surprisingly, it was an East Coast/Celtic band. That was my entry point into the music of Newfoundland and it was through that band that I first travelled there. Since then, I have fallen in love with the people and the musical culture. Later, when I discovered Fogo Island, Newfoundland, I found an especially unique and musically vibrant part of Newfoundland, and it’s been bringing me back there every year since 2009 (pandemic/lockdown years notwithstanding).

Q: We love to hear you solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet...whatever. There is always a distinct thread of Chris Murphy in all settings. Where did you find such positivity in your stage presence, demeanor and approach? I know you have to take it to the next level to maintain your sanity at St. Paddy's!

Chris: I’m not sure how to answer that question, other than to reiterate that it was through watching masters like Séan McCann and David Francey make genuine and deep connections with their audiences through the stories and the songs. I honestly love what I do and I don’t take for granted that making a career out of doing something that I love to do is a special gift and privilege.

Q: You had the pleasure of performing and touring alongside Great Big Sea member Sean McCann for a few years. Since then, you have had the fortune to do the same alongside your Turpin's Trail fiddler bandmate Jessica Wedden with Canadian Folk legend David Francey! These experiences speak to the high pedigree at which you project yourself. How does it feel to work hand in hand with these talents and what have they taught you?

Chris: Getting the opportunity to work with both Séan and David has been invaluable to me as a musician, but also as a person. David and Séan have different approaches and skill sets. I have learned so much from them, from how to interact/engage with an audience, to how to craft a set list, to the ins and outs of the business side of the industry, to even just being more present and thankful throughout the day.

Q: I'm aware of how busy you are as a musician and family man. It's a lot! What's next for you personally as a writer, performer, musician? Seems you are on a great path, regardless.

Chris: This summer, my family and I are off again to Fogo Island for the month of August. I’ll be an artist in residence with Fogo Island Arts/the Shorefast Foundation. This will be my fourth residency and I’ll be leading jam sessions, participating in kids’ programming, mentoring younger musicians and much more while I’m there. After the summer, things kick into a higher gear with David Francey; having won his fourth Juno award for his latest album “The Breath Between”, we’ll be touring southwestern US, Manitoba, and northeastern US to finish off this year. His team is even working on a tour of Australia next year! I’ll still be playing solo and Turpin’s Trail shows in between tours, but I’m excited to see what amazing opportunities being part of David’s band affords. Posted: Jun 11, 2024 Originally Published: Jun 6, 2024
In this Article Artist(s) Chris Murphy, Turpin's Trail Resource(s) The Cove Inn