Michael Martin Murphey​    

Michael Martin Murphey’s musical journey has taken many unpredictable paths over the past 50 years.  Topping the Pop, Country, Western and Bluegrass charts, Murphey has never been one to rest on his laurels.

A loyal American son from Texas, Murphey is best known for his chart-topping hits “Wildfire,” Carolina In The Pines,” “What’s Forever For,” “Long Line of Love,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac”, “Cowboy Logic,” and many more across his 35 albums released to date.

Murphey’s long-running incarnation as a purveyor of the music, lifestyle, and values of the American West is one of many musical mantles he has worn over the years. To track his career path is to span the country itself, from coming of age in the Texas folk music scene, to Los Angeles to Colorado to Nashville and then back to his native Texas.

Murphey’s original songs have been recorded by The Monkees, Kenny Rogers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Denver, Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Tracy Byrd, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dolly Parton, Johnny Rivers, Billy Ray Cyrus, and many others.

During the early 1970s in Austin, TX along with artists like Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary P. Nunn, Murphey created the “Cosmic Cowboy” movement, which was pivotal in drawing artists like Willie Nelson to the scene and helped birth the “Outlaw” Country movement.  In 1972, Murphey signed a major label deal.  Discovered by renowned producer Bob Johnston (Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan), Murphey released his pivotal debut, Geronimo’s Cadillac.  “On the strength of his first album alone,” proclaimed Rolling Stone Magazine, “Michael Murphey is the best new songwriter in the country.”  In 1975 he topped the pop charts with his hit singles, “Wildfire” and “Carolina In the Pines” from the RIAA Certified Gold album Blue Sky – Night Thunder. 

Then, in the early 1980s, Murphey recorded a watershed country album for Capitol Records produced by Jim Ed Norman.  He topped the Country Charts with the  “Still Taking Chances” single, which solidified his relationship with country radio as a hit singer-songwriter, and exposed him to an entirely new audience.  Twelve years after his first hit in Pop music, Murphey was awarded “Best New Artist” by the Academy of Country Music (beating out George Strait).  He continued to top the country charts throughout the decade with hits like “What’s Forever For,” the Grammy nominated “A Face In the Crowd,” (with Holly Dunn), the number one “A Long Line of Love”, “I’m Gonna Miss You Girl”, and many more.

In 1985, Murphey performed with the New Mexico Symphony in a concept he titled “A Night in the American West,” which was so well received, it led to hundreds of performances with American and Canadian symphonies, including the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

In 1990 he circled around to one of his first loves, cowboy music. Cowboy Songs Vol.1, was wildly successful and became the first album of cowboy music to go gold since the heyday of Marty Robbins.  Cowboy Songs was so popular and highly regarded that Warner Bros. created an entire imprint called Warner Western.  In the midst of this Country / Western successes he founded a Western cultural festival called “Westfest”, deemed “the best festival in America”. It is American West showmanship, culture, lifestyle and scholarship.

Ever a genre-busting artist, Murphey refocused his attention again in 2009 with his Grammy nominated Buckaroo Blue Grass.  That project — and two subsequent releases, Buckaroo Blue Grass II and Tall Grass & Cool Water — topped the Bluegrass charts.

Murphey has been awarded gold albums for Cowboy Songs, Vol. I, Blue Sky Night Thunder, and a Platinum single, Wildfire”.  He has been given the prestigious Charlie Russell Award for Western Heritage.  He is a 5-time recipient of the Wrangler award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame, and boasts awards from the Academy of Country Music, Rock Music Awards, Academy of Western Music Awards, Governor of New Mexico’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Outstanding Son of Texas Award by the Texas Legislature, and multiple from BMI. In 2009, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall of Fame, joining old friends Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Allen Shamblin.

In 2018, he released Austinology, celebrating his early days as a pioneer of the Austin Music Scene of the 70s with guest artists that include Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and many more.  In the spring of 2021 Murph was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters as a member.  The prestigious Institute is traditionally for written work, but acknowledges the poetry accompanied by music that Michael has done throughout his life.  This fall Murph has also been awarded the Stephen Bruton Award for excellence in music and film, as well as a Trail of Fame in Fort Worth, TX Stockyards (FW equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame), and he was inducted into the New Mexico Musician Hall of Fame.  In 2022 he will release an album titled, Road Beyond the View, which is his first completely new work of songs that was created in partnership with his son, Ryan Murphey.

Michael Martin Murphey is a genre busting artist having had great success in Pop, Country, Western, Blue Grass, all of which he’s had #1 songs, albums, or chart topping impact.  With his latest release, “The Road Beyond the View”, Murph is entering into yet more genres…while a singer songwriter album at heart, it’s layered with Jazz elements.  Created and recorded with his son, Ryan Murphey, this is the first work where they are equal artists.  Ryan’s influence on the music is significant and his passion for Jazz brings these songs to another level.  These songs were created out of their love for the southwest.  The geography, the people, the food, and the history of the region they spent the most time while Ryan was growing up, New Mexico and Colorado.  This tour will not only highlight songs from Murph’s more than 50 year touring career, but will feature some songs from the “Road Beyond the View”.  This is an evening not to miss as you will hear history and the future of Michael Martin Murphey. 

 

Michael Martin Murphey’s musical journey has taken many unpredictable paths over the past 50 years.  Topping the Pop, Country, Western and Bluegrass charts, Murphey has never been one to rest on his laurels.​

    A loyal American son from Texas, Murphey is best known for his chart-topping hits “Wildfire,” Carolina In The Pines,” “What’s Forever For,” “Long Line of Love,” “Geronimo’s Cadillac”, “Cowboy Logic,” and many more across his 35 albums released to date.

    Murphey’s long-running incarnation as a purveyor of the music, lifestyle, and values of the American West is one of many musical mantles he has worn over the years. To track his career path is to span the country itself, from coming of age in the Texas folk music scene, to Los Angeles to Colorado to Nashville and then back to his native Texas.​

     Murphey’s original songs have been recorded by The Monkees, Kenny Rogers, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Denver, Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Tracy Byrd, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dolly Parton, Johnny Rivers, Billy Ray Cyrus, and many others.  ​

    During the early 1970s in Austin, TX along with artists like Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary P. Nunn, Murphey created the “Cosmic Cowboy” movement, which was pivotal in drawing artists like Willie Nelson to the scene and helped birth the “Outlaw” Country movement.  In 1972, Murphey signed a major label deal.  Discovered by renowned producer Bob Johnston (Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan), Murphey released his pivotal debut, Geronimo’s Cadillac.  “On the strength of his first album alone,” proclaimed Rolling Stone Magazine, “Michael Murphey is the best new songwriter in the country.”  In 1975 he topped the pop charts with his hit singles, “Wildfire” and “Carolina In the Pines” from the RIAA Certified Gold album Blue Sky – Night Thunder.  ​

     Then, in the early 1980s, Murphey recorded a watershed country album for Capitol Records produced by Jim Ed Norman.  He topped the Country Charts with the  “Still Taking Chances” single, which solidified his relationship with country radio as a hit singer-songwriter, and exposed him to an entirely new audience.  Twelve years after his first hit in Pop music, Murphey was awarded “Best New Artist” by the Academy of Country Music (beating out George Strait).  He continued to top the country charts throughout the decade with hits like “What’s Forever For,” the Grammy nominated “A Face In the Crowd,” (with Holly Dunn), the number one “A Long Line of Love”, “I’m Gonna Miss You Girl”, and many more.​

     In 1985, Murphey performed with the New Mexico Symphony in a concept he titled “A Night in the American West,” which was so well received, it led to hundreds of performances with American and Canadian symphonies, including the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. ​

     In 1990 he circled around to one of his first loves, cowboy music. Cowboy Songs Vol.1, was wildly successful and became the first album of cowboy music to go gold since the heyday of Marty Robbins.  Cowboy Songs was so popular and highly regarded that Warner Bros. created an entire imprint called Warner Western.  In the midst of this Country / Western successes he founded a Western cultural festival called “Westfest”, deemed “the best festival in America”. It is American West showmanship, culture, lifestyle and scholarship. ​

     Ever a genre-busting artist, Murphey refocused his attention again in 2009 with his Grammy nominated Buckaroo Blue Grass.  That project — and two subsequent releases, Buckaroo Blue Grass II and Tall Grass & Cool Water — topped the Bluegrass charts.​

      Murphey has been awarded gold albums for Cowboy Songs, Vol. I, Blue Sky Night Thunder, and a Platinum single, “Wildfire”.  He has been given the prestigious Charlie Russell Award for Western Heritage.  He is a 5-time recipient of the Wrangler award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame, and boasts awards from the Academy of Country Music, Rock Music Awards, Academy of Western Music Awards, Governor of New Mexico’s Outstanding Achievement Award, Outstanding Son of Texas Award by the Texas Legislature, and multiple from BMI. In 2009, he was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall of Fame, joining old friends Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Allen Shamblin.   ​

     In 2018, Murphey released Austinology: Alleys of Austin, which celebrated his early days as a pioneer of the Austin Music Scene of the 70s with guest artists that included Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Amy Grant, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, and many more.​

In April 2019 Murph was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 59th Annual Western Heritage Awards.  The National & Western Heritage Museum honored him for his producing and celebrating western music.  “In the Old West,” Murphey said, “songs were shared by pioneers, cattlemen, ranchers, painted ladies and even gunslingers as a way of keeping the West alive. I have always been drawn to songs about the love of the land, the strength of the prairie folks, the dusty trails, the mythic tales and the legends of a bygone era. I have always admired Westerners for their stubborn determination and deep love of life. That’s what I celebrate in my music.”  

On his new album, High Stakes: Cowboy Songs VII, Iconic Western Artist Michael Martin Murphey pleads on the stunningly beautiful Australian cowboy song, “Campfire On The Road”  “We must never let ’em take this life away / Old stock routes belong to one and all / Drovers, dreamers all agree / Poets, Aborigines / We have a right to light a campfire on the road.”

The lyric underscores the dramatic tone of Murphey’s return to his Texas-cowboy roots at a time when we are facing the rapid deterioration of our crowded world’s most precious resources: Land and Water.

“This generation of the human family is witnessing the emergence of their home as a desert planet”, says Murphey, a passionate lifelong rancher-poet. “Two-thirds of the Earth’s land surface is grassland plain. Eighty percent of its soil is dying. This is due to a lack of grazing animals — cattle, sheep, buffalo, deer, elk, goats, even free-range chickens and pigs. We need vastly more split-hooved grazing animals that turn up the soil — managed by the world’s stockmen and stockwomen —  to replicate the rotational-grazing habits of wild herds to restore grasslands for the creatures and life-forms that thrive there.

“As we develop cities and urban sprawl, we run off animals that cannot be replaced by technology,” he continued.  “You can’t eat computer chips.”

Best known for a genre busting career that includes topping the Pop, Country, Bluegrass and Western Music charts, the timing of High Stakes is particularly significant as the album release day falls on Earth Day (April 22).
“It may sound like an oxymoron, but  ‘Cowboy Culture’ is real and relevant,” Murphey says. “I celebrate men and women who love Dirt, Grass and Water.

“Truth is, cowboys and cowgirls can save the planet.”

Murphey himself has been a long-time activist and outspoken supporter of caring for land and water. Murphey was inspired by the work of noted Zimbabwean Ecologist, Dr. Alan Savory, who was a consultant to his  ranching partnership with Holistic Grazing pioneer Bert Madera of Jal, New Mexico.

“Grasslands sequester carbon,” Murphey explains. “Too much carbon in the atmosphere instead of the grass and soil is the real cause of climate change. Ranchers around the world are fighting leaving ground bare and managed grazing is a key way to do that.

“Real environmentalists are the men and women who spend their days working the land responsibly to ensure its health for generations to come.”

The message is so potent that when Murphey appeared at Earth Day Texas last year, the founder of the event, Trammel S. Crow, Jr. asked Murphey to become the Official Ambassador for the 2016 event.

With Murphey Western Institute, they created the Grazing Land Restoration Initiative.

“Michael is more than an award-winning country western singer-songwriter,” said Crow. “He is also an avid steward of the culture and landscape of the American West.  We have a mutual interest in protecting the environment for future generations.”

Murphey returns to his singing cowboy roots on High Stakes to tell riveting human stories of love and hate, sin and redemption, loss and risk, failure and victory, revenge and forgiveness and family legacy.

From the rollicking notes of the title track “High Stakes”, to the final notes of the lovely “The End of the Road,” Murphey celebrates the western lifestyle so well-dramatized by the passionate struggles of the grazing land cultures of the world who literally live and die by managing land and water.

Among the highlights are his take on John Williamson’s “Three Sons,” and “Campfire on the Road,” Roger Creager’s “I’ve Got The Guns,” and Marty Robbins’ standards “Running Gun” and “Master’s Call.”

The wonderful “Emilia Farewell” and “The End Of The Road” — both written with son, Ryan Murphey —are gorgeous traditional cowboy songs.  On the title track, also written with Ryan and third collaborator Pauline Reese, Murphey explains there is an urgency to his message: “You don’t understand the cards you’re holding and your hands start to shake / High Stakes.”

Over the past 40 years, Murphey has left an indelible mark on the American Music Landscape with hits like “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Cosmic Cowboy,” “Wildfire,” “Carolina In The Pines,” “Cherokee Fiddle,”  “What’s Forever For,” and “Cowboy Logic.”

On his new album, High Stakes: Cowboy Songs VII, Iconic Western Artist Michael Martin Murphey pleads on the stunningly beautiful Australian cowboy song, “Campfire On The Road”  “We must never let ’em take this life away / Old stock routes belong to one and all / Drovers, dreamers all agree / Poets, Aborigines / We have a right to light a campfire on the road.”

The lyric underscores the dramatic tone of Murphey’s return to his Texas-cowboy roots at a time when we are facing the rapid deterioration of our crowded world’s most precious resources: Land and Water.

“This generation of the human family is witnessing the emergence of their home as a desert planet”, says Murphey, a passionate lifelong rancher-poet. “Two-thirds of the Earth’s land surface is grassland plain. Eighty percent of its soil is dying. This is due to a lack of grazing animals — cattle, sheep, buffalo, deer, elk, goats, even free-range chickens and pigs. We need vastly more split-hooved grazing animals that turn up the soil — managed by the world’s stockmen and stockwomen —  to replicate the rotational-grazing habits of wild herds to restore grasslands for the creatures and life-forms that thrive there.

“As we develop cities and urban sprawl, we run off animals that cannot be replaced by technology,” he continued.  “You can’t eat computer chips.”

Best known for a genre busting career that includes topping the Pop, Country, Bluegrass and Western Music charts, the timing of High Stakes is particularly significant as the album release day falls on Earth Day (April 22).
“It may sound like an oxymoron, but  ‘Cowboy Culture’ is real and relevant,” Murphey says. “I celebrate men and women who love Dirt, Grass and Water.

“Truth is, cowboys and cowgirls can save the planet.”

Murphey himself has been a long-time activist and outspoken supporter of caring for land and water. Murphey was inspired by the work of noted Zimbabwean Ecologist, Dr. Alan Savory, who was a consultant to his  ranching partnership with Holistic Grazing pioneer Bert Madera of Jal, New Mexico.

“Grasslands sequester carbon,” Murphey explains. “Too much carbon in the atmosphere instead of the grass and soil is the real cause of climate change. Ranchers around the world are fighting leaving ground bare and managed grazing is a key way to do that.

“Real environmentalists are the men and women who spend their days working the land responsibly to ensure its health for generations to come.”

The message is so potent that when Murphey appeared at Earth Day Texas last year, the founder of the event, Trammel S. Crow, Jr. asked Murphey to become the Official Ambassador for the 2016 event.

With Murphey Western Institute, they created the Grazing Land Restoration Initiative.

“Michael is more than an award-winning country western singer-songwriter,” said Crow. “He is also an avid steward of the culture and landscape of the American West.  We have a mutual interest in protecting the environment for future generations.”

Murphey returns to his singing cowboy roots on High Stakes to tell riveting human stories of love and hate, sin and redemption, loss and risk, failure and victory, revenge and forgiveness and family legacy.

From the rollicking notes of the title track “High Stakes”, to the final notes of the lovely “The End of the Road,” Murphey celebrates the western lifestyle so well-dramatized by the passionate struggles of the grazing land cultures of the world who literally live and die by managing land and water.

Among the highlights are his take on John Williamson’s “Three Sons,” and “Campfire on the Road,” Roger Creager’s “I’ve Got The Guns,” and Marty Robbins’ standards “Running Gun” and “Master’s Call.”

The wonderful “Emilia Farewell” and “The End Of The Road” — both written with son, Ryan Murphey —are gorgeous traditional cowboy songs.  On the title track, also written with Ryan and third collaborator Pauline Reese, Murphey explains there is an urgency to his message: “You don’t understand the cards you’re holding and your hands start to shake / High Stakes.”

Over the past 40 years, Murphey has left an indelible mark on the American Music Landscape with hits like “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” “Cosmic Cowboy,” “Wildfire,” “Carolina In The Pines,” “Cherokee Fiddle,”  “What’s Forever For,” and “Cowboy Logic.”