In the summer of 2012, former Fellswoop front man Chris Murphy, sought to reprise his past endeavors as an aspiring folk and bluegrass artist. Performing avidly as a multi-instrumentalist throughout the Lehigh Valley, Murphy found his outlet after meeting 5-string-banjoist, Christopher Holland, at an open mic in Orefield, PA. After a high-energy, dignifying jam session, Murphy reached out to an old friend and Upright Bassist, Jerome McCaffery. Within a few shorts weeks, Murphy’s ambitious efforts developed to what is now The Boiled Owls.
Murphy’s song writing is unique in that it strays away from the mundane, infusing traditional bluegrass roots with contemporary styles of folk and Americana, delivering a sound unlike most traditional and modern artists. In 2009, Murphy’s band, Fellswoop, released its album “Against the Odds” which became an instant success in the Lehigh Valley and Greater Philadelphia area. It was well received by radio stations and media outlets throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, which led to performances at the Lyons Fiddle Fest, The Grand Theatre in Pennsburg (with Spin Doctor’s lead singer, Chris Baron), Utica Fest, Muse Fest, Fetish Fest, Mayfair, and two separate appearances at the nation’s largest free music festival, Musikfest. Although Fellswoop’s dismemberment came after establishing a well-respected reputation, Murphy’s aspirations to continue playing his original, vocally-driven folk songs now lives on through The Boiled Owls.
After studying classical guitar under the instruction of Grammy award winning guitarist, Dr. David Cullen, and developing a strong right hand for finger picking techniques, Holland delved into his love for bluegrass music and started picking the 5-string-banjo. In a short time, his love for the banjo grew immensely and he began playing relentlessly, waiting to find the right outfit to join. It wasn't long after finishing college and relocating to the Lehigh Valley that Holland met Murphy. While in his quest for a jam/folk/bluegrass band, Holland was the lead guitarist for Welcome to Earf, an original, experimental dub-reggae band who’s success involved playing shows at the Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia to twice sharing the stage with the well-known band, Ween.
McCaffrey began his musical journey at the age of 10 and went on to study jazz theory and performance while earning a degree in audio production from Full Sail University in Florida. His most notable success has come from playing with the band Painted Blue, a three-piece bluegrass band from Southeastern PA, in which he’s been performing with for more than a decade. He’s shared the stage with the likes of the Jazz Mandolin Project, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, and several others. After a few months of playing with The Boiled Owls, McCaffrey introduced his long time friend, and Painted Blue mandolin player, Mike Spillane.
While continuing to play mandolin with Painted Blue, Spillane has been playing relentlessly with The Boiled Owls. His inspiration to play mandolin came at an early age listening to the albums of Garcia & Grisman, and he’s performed at several large festivals, venues, clubs and theaters; but his most gratifying musical accomplishments come in the studio—making recordings that will last a lifetime. His advanced playing ability complements the sounds of The Boiled Owls and his Monroe-esque riffs add a unique twist to the contemporary style of Murphy’s song writing.
Building a new presence in the Greater Lehigh Valley, The Boiled Owls are endeavoring to hit the festival season this summer and gig relentlessly throughout the tri-state area.