Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” game books that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s? The stories are written from a second-person point of view with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character's actions and the plot's outcome. Accomplished composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Conor Mulroy likes to compare his creative process and ensuing work to that popular children books series. When you hit a dead end you can always retrace your steps and pick up where you dropped the pace. It’s confusing, but it does make sense.
Mulroy has been a student of music his entire life. He has traveled the globe leading groups in performance halls and recording sessions with ensembles ranging from solo instruments to orchestras.
He plays mandolin, guitar, 5 string banjo, piano, and bass among many other instruments. He has written music for orchestra, film, the concert hall, and ensembles ranging from acoustic to metal and everything in between. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music composition at the University of Southern Maine. He also owns his own record label, Melmac Records, through which he has independently released three records already: Salinger, The Glass Ocean, The Unwinding Path and the forthcoming Foxfire, scheduled for release on June 5.
His music that has been classified as bluegrass and singer/songwriter as well as in genres like metal and avant-garde. He is constantly pushing his own boundaries as a composer and performer. Indeed Conor Mulroy wants his music to take his listeners on an adventure but he wants to be along for the ride too! There’s no wrong choices in the journey of writing music for Conor Mulroy, because every piece composed to him represents an adventure that connects his past to his present. The final outcome of a musical composition isn’t nearly as exciting to him as the journey taken to get there.
“The most important thing I always want to experiment with is song form,” says Mulroy. “Everything else is overdone and rewritten. The most obvious and yet often overlooked area in the craft of songwriting that I want to expand upon is the form a song can take,” he continues.
Foxfire; Mulroy’s latest adventure is due out on June 5, via Melmac Records. It is a sweet blend of bluegrass and classical music as interpreted through a progressive jazz lens. Imagine if Stravinsky jammed with Mike Gordon and Tony Williams. The title is an homage to a specific type of algae that glows a bioluminescent blue at night and can only be found in certain areas of Appalachia.
“When I began work on Foxfire, I asked myself, “how can I make a full length CD that is through-composed, doesn’t repeat, but keeps the listener engaged?”,” says Mulroy. “For me, that’s the most important thing for this recording,” he continues.
Playing live is another important thing to Mulroy as he will embark on his first-ever tour of America beginning Fall 2012 and releasing another album’s worth of material as early as 2013.