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Austin Jimmy Murphy & The Blues Kings / Blog

5 Points Bistro

The house was pretty well packed all night long. Whenever you play to a packed house, your shows are always notched up a bit. It probably shouldn't be that way, but it is. The El Paso Blues Society came by after a workshop by CW Ayon at SqueeTone Guitars. Quite a few folks I have known over the years but had never seen the band perform came by. This is always great because in the everyday work environment I am the director of development for the El Paso Museum of History, when I perform I am a totally different personality. I am sure many musicians are this same way. It isn't a planned thing, you are who you are. Music brings more of the individual's inner personality out. The band was spot-on. JoDavid Reyes is the best drummer in El Paso and I love playing with this guy. The drummer in a blues band, or any band I guess, can make or break you. There are a lot of really good drummers out there, but JoDavid has that perfect touch at any dynamic. He is extremely attentive to whatever and wherever the music is going. Steve Karolus is El Paso's best kept bassist secret. It is very unfortunate that he is moving to Peru in a couple of months. I hate the thought of bringing someone else into the band...again. Wes Gundersen, the other guitarist in the band is just a great player. There isn't much I can say about it. There are moments throughout the night where we both play leads at the same time. Most of the time this works out pretty good. The other night we hit it quite a few times. Especially on Woman in the World and People Get Ready; great Allman Brothers style stuff. All in all, I sold a few CDs, gave out a few business cards, saw some old friends, met some new friends and played some awesome music. Thanks to the band for interpreting my tunes so well. I can't tell you what this means to me. I truly appreciate the time and effort you have dedicated to this project. Austin Jimmy

The Dome

The band had a great night at the Dome Bar in El Paso, TX on March 22. I had some amplifier problems, but fortunately I had two amps with me that evening. I have been switching away from my Blues Junior and using my Fender Deluxe Reverb. I have been using the Junior for years. There is just something about its sound that I love. But I run it nearly wide open and the amp just can't take that abuse for too long. So I have switched to the Deluxe. It has taken me a while to get used to a more clean sound. I started with my Junior Friday and then switched to my Deluxe. Something went haywire with the Deluxe (unfortunately) so I switched back. By this weekend at 5 Points Bistro I should have everything back to normal. 5 Points is outdoors. It is supposed to be in the low 80s that day so it should be a great evening. Hope to see you there. 8-midnight.

Receiving a SAMMY

45 minutes prior to my March 8th gig at the famous Dome Bar in El Paso, TX, I was notified that my CD, A History of Blues, was awarded Best Blues CD at the Syracuse Area Music Awards. As many people say, it is just an honor to be nominated; this is true. The nomination was special because I don't live in Syracuse any more. That being said, the recordings were a retrospective of various sessions recorded in the Syracuse area dating back to 1977. The musicians featured in this 4-disc collection are true heroes of mine. The blues community in the Syracuse area is extraordinary. I mean that. I was always intimidated by almost any player who would come and see any of my gigs. If Phil Petroff, Mark Hofmann or Morris Tarbell ever came to see me, I would lose whatever energy I had. These guys are ‘great’ players. I mean really world-class musicians. I couldn’t play if they were in the room. It was friggin’ frightening. The blues community in Upstate New York is a real community. Everyone knows everyone, supports everyone and supports every blues thing that might be going on. The harmonica players, guitarists, drummers, keyboard players and bass players are some of the most talented you will find anywhere on the planet. I’m not just saying this. Buy any CD from Los Blancos, Tom Townsley, Mark Clautier, Ron Spencer, Little Georgie & The Shuffling Hungarians, T.A. James, The Fabulous Ripcords, Bob Piorun, Jimmy Wolf, the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band, or from Blue Wave Records and you won’t be disappointed. Everyone sits in with everyone and everyone records with everyone. In closing, I am very pleased that A History of Blues received the SAMMY. It was a true labor of love and took me on a beautiful journey through my past. I look forward to recording with some of my new blues buddies here in El Paso, TX. Thank you everyone for your continued support. 2013 is going to be a great year. Best of luck to all of you.

The Dome Bar and a Great Drummer

I hope this finds you all well and deeply involved in the music of your choice. I've decided to go backwards ... back in time ... in more than one way. I knocked on an old bandmates's door the other day. I was a bit nervous and I certainly caught him by surprise. But that was it, we were fine immediately. We didn't leave on the best of terms and that's never good. JoDavid Reyes is probably the best drummer in El Paso. We performed together for about two years. It doesn't matter what went down to drive us apart. What matters is now. At this point in my life and career I need to play with the best players around. Because of my CD, A History of Blues, I am breaking into a few new venues in the area and I need to go in there smoking hot. We've had one short practice, just running over the basics to refresh his memory, but he had the entire set list already together. JoDavid is more of a percussionist/drummer combined. Awesome rhythm patterns, sensitive to dynamics and he pays attention to what the hell I'm doing. You can't ask for more than that. Our first date is at the Dome Bar in El Paso, TX. The Dome sits inside the Camino Real Hotel. It's a pretty swank place and hard to get in to. It has a $3M Tiffany stained glass dome over the bar, thus the name. It's going to be a great show. If you are any where near El Paso, I suggest you stop by. Austin Jimmy

Former Band Member

This is a tough business. There are so many great players out there who take the time to learn material and spend hours practicing and performing with us at the drop of a hat. Sonny Torres is one of those people. Sonny is a very talented drummer who has come through for me at a moment's notice a couple of times; very professional, a great guy and someone who cared about the music and the band. Thank you for your time Sonny. I know we will perform together again somewhere down the line. Sonny performs at weddings and other big-time events so I don't think he needed to play with me, but he did. I truly appreciate that.

SqueeTone Performance

My group performed a low-key outdoor 90 minute show at SqueeTone Guitars and Amps this past Saturday the 16th. We were originally slated to play indoors, but it was almost 70 degrees outside. Afterward I performed a 30 minute set of acoustic blues inside. They have a great selection of guitars and amps. Thanks to Frank and his wife for having us. There were quite a few people in the store so I believe everything worked out for everyone.

A History of Blues is Available on Amazon

For all you blues lovers out there, A History of Blues is now available at Amazon.com. Search for Austin Jimmy Murphy and you now have access to the entire box set. This is great news and I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to place a couple of my tunes featuring some incredible Syracuse, NY performances. Actually, the songs are available on any online music site. Pick your favorite 10 tunes. Have fun. More later.

Three-gig Day

Yesterday, January 26th was a full day of music. When the day started I was pretty excited and thought that I might have a pretty good day ahead of me for CD sales. I had booked two library gigs and an after the symphony gig at rthe Oasis Bistro in the Plaza Theatre. First I performed at the Clardy Fox Library down off Delta. This was for my lightest audience. A few kids and only two adults. It was enjoyable and I did sell one CD. My next library was the Irving Schwartz library out in east El Paso. There were about 15 people there which has been the usual audience size. Not one CD was sold. But all said and done, my mission of spreading the word of the blues in El Paso is being accomplished slowly but surely. The CD sales were an unexpected benefit. Later in the evening I was to perform at the Oasis with my 4-piece group. Two guitars, bass and drums. The Oasis in an attachment to the Plaza Theatre managed by SMG, the same group that manages the theatre, McKelligon Canyon, and the Convention Center. It's like a little jazz gig (that's how I see it. Another El paso goal is to broaden the places that I perform. Bringing in a nice quiet, cool little quartet to an upscale club is an ideal situation. My second guitar player, Wes Gunderson, could not make the gig due to an important family situation that needed immediate attention. The drummer, Sonny Torres showed up with a nice little three-piece kit and played brushes all night. It was perfect. The bass player, Steve Karolus was great. I haven't played in a 3-piece in a while. I was a bit nervous at first. The great thing about a 3-piece is that it opens up the floor to a lot of experimentation. There isn't anyone else to depend upon. Mentally and physically it is a challenge. But during that challenge you have to force yourself to move out of your comfort zone. To me this makes the entire gig more satisfying to the musicians and to the audience. The El Paso Symphony (the longest running symphony in Texas) performed at the Plaza Theatre and finished up at the same time we began. The Oasis is right at the theater exit so we got the overflow crowd. I gave out a few cards and sold a couple of CDs. It was a nice 2-hour gig. It was a great day. Today I play catch-up. I have tomorrow off. See you all soon. Austin Jimmy

A Full Day January 26th

This coming Saturday I will perform three times; twice as a solo artist for my Library Tour and once with my 4-piece band. At 1pm I am at Clardy Fox Branch Library (5515 Robert Alva - 772-0501) and at 3pm I am at the Irving Schwartz Branch located at 1865 Dean Martin. In the evening Wes Gunderson, Sonny Torres, Steve Kolouris and myself will perform a low-key blues set or two at the Oasis Bistro inside the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, TX from 9:30-11:30 pm after the El Paso Symphony performs. I hope you can join me for at least one of these shows.

Power of the Press

Good afternoon everyone. President Obama was sworn in this morning. It is a beautiful day here in El Paso, TX; sunny and warm. Our three weeks of winter must be over. The days are getting longer and I'm really excited about 2013. Doug Pullen from the El Paso Times did a beautiful piece on the, A History of Blues CD. You can view the article at: http://www.elpasotimes.com/entertainment/ci_22396740/blues-musician-compiles-4-cd-retrospective. The power of the press is enormous. I immediately was contacted by the Silver City Blues Festival in Silver City, NM to open their Memorial Day festival on May 25th. Hopefully this will lead to bigger and better things. I'm putting together a new group of musicians for this year..for the most part. Wes Gunderson will remain as the 2nd guitarist in the band. We work very well together. Under normal circumstances I would be the only guitarist in the band due to my huge ego. Wes play with me rather than against me. We are totally different players which makes the music larger. Sonny Torres will be the new drummer. I played with Sonny a few times last year. He brings a lot to the table. I am looking forward to performing with him. My long time bass player Juan Tarin has gotten involved with a few bands during my little break this winter, so he not have the time to dedicate to my project. Juan is a very studied player. He took my music home and learned it. I have always appreciated this. I will dearly miss Juan. I would like to incorporate a piano player into the band this year. A fair amount of the music on A History of Blues has the great George Rossi performing. An understanding keyboard player can make a huge difference in the band's overall sound. So we will be a 5-piece this year. My second choice for bass would be Steve Karoulis...unfortunately, he and his family are moving to Honduras or somewhere this June. Steve is a very smooth bassist. I haven't played with him a lot, but during the blues jams I did invite him up a few times. He is very talented. So right now we will be looking for a bass player and a keyboardist.