Just in time for Christmas, the Territory’s own Murry Rhodes has released his debut album Silhouettes of Song.
Murry is a relative newcomer to the music industry, having worked most his life as an electrician in the Outback. He honed his craft traveling across the country for the last two years, playing everywhere from cocktail bars to caravan parks. This album draws on that experience. When you’re there to entertain a crowd that doesn’t know who you are, you typically play covers, and they make up the bulk of this release.
I was drawn in from the first song, a flawless cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In the Wind.” Some covers reminded me of all that I loved about the original, like his take on “Hallelujah.” So many people have covered this song over the years, but his version was every bit as good as the best I’ve heard. I haven’t listened to “Seven Spanish Angels” in years; this version brought tears to my eyes. Other tracks made me see the songs in a new way. For example, I don’t think I’d heard the pain and struggle in “Drift Away” before. There were a couple of missteps for me though. “Makin’ Whoopee” and “Hey Good Lookin’” probably went down a treat in the country’s piano bars. They seem effortless, perhaps too effortless. There’s nothing to fault per se, but they don’t quite stir me in the same way as some of the more unconventional choices.
Murry has included two original songs here, and they really showcase his gift as a songwriter. These two numbers are as powerful as any of the more established songs included on this release. “Lifetime,” which reflects on the impact of depression as the years pass, is particularly moving.
Murry Rhodes has a voice that is so rich and beautiful. It’s not a perfect voice, but one that drips with emotion. It adds extra weight to this already stellar collection of songs. I love that this is a minimalist album; with just a man and his piano the songs have the right amount of room to breathe. The instrument isn’t just used as accompaniment either. There are moments where his skills on the keys shine, as they should. Murry Rhodes is a complete artist, not just a singer that plays a little piano. He might be late to the music game, but I’m thrilled he’s downed electrical tools and decided to share his gift with us.
Silhouettes of Song is out now. Murry Rhodes will play Darwin at the Hub in Palmerston on December 23 and 30.