By Mick Holien
Legendary storyteller Michael Martin Murphey rambled tales of his life at the Bigfork Theater Monday (on the night of the NCAA title game) and Tuesday night to what I can only honestly describe as sparse.
But that didn’t seem to phase one of the Country’s most prolific songwriters as supplemented occasionally by son Ryan and a couple of breaks “Murph” played until 11 p.m. and probably would have even extended the evening were he not concerned with black ice which actually was non-existent
But if you were expecting an evening of straight music you might have left disappointed as the artist most recognized for his signature song “Wildfire” spent the evening between songs sharing life experiences mixed with cowboy philosophy.
Long known for his activism for land conservation Murphey certainly doesn’t leave one wondering where he stands on issues of the American West like protection of the environment.
“I celebrate men and women who love dirt, grass and water,” he says in his bio. It may sound like an oxymoron but “Cowboy Culture is real and relevant … you can’t eat computer chips.”
While strongly using his musical pulpit to his advantage his style is such that one doesn’t feel lectured to yet evoking a thought process.
“Real environmentalists are the men and women who spend their days working responsibly o ensure its health for generations to come,” said Murphey.
While probably best known for Wildfire, loved by deejays because of its length – I’ll let you figure that out, my favorite of the night was “Carolina in the Pines.”
Ryan’s expert work on a unique harp brought a depth to the music quite frankly I have never before heard.
And if you haven’t lately heard Halladay Quist, you are in for a surprise next time. Her voice is deeply refined and highly enjoyable and Dad, Rob, even fighting a cold was his usual reliable self.
All in all a rare treat this early in the music season. What say you. Just sayin’.