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J.J. Murphy's sound advice 

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J.J. Murphy is a guitarist and composer who just relocated to Colorado Springs from Nashville, where he spent the last seven years. Murphy is currently working with his own project, as well as Denver-based group Steely Dead. He is very active as an educator via his Instagram @jmurphyguitar. You can catch him with his band on Oct. 4 at the Armadillo Ranch in Manitou Springs, with musicians Dylan Teifer, Alex Johnson and Tim Philpot. He will also be giving a free masterclass on slide and blues guitar the following day at 2:30 p.m., also at the Armadillo Ranch.


Essential Saturday night listening: Depends on the type of night you’re going for. If I’m hanging with friends and I have the iPod, I’ll put on Sturgill Simpson, Otis Redding or Marvin Gaye, and everyone seems happy.

Essential Sunday morning listening: I’m usually in a country/folk mood on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday I had the house to myself, so I was blasting John Hiatt’s record Bring the Family with Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner and Nick Lowe. Unbelievably great record.

First record I bought with my own money: I was born on Christmas, and I remember one year for my birthday and Christmas I got a bunch of Amazon gift cards. I bought Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, Ladies and Gentlemen... the Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The blues record sent me down a rabbit hole of discovering blues artists from all different eras. The Dead turned me on to improvisation and the sound of Phil Lesh’s bass blew me away. It’s actually what got me playing guitar in the first place.

“Wish I’d written that” song: “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan. I don’t really write lyrics myself, but if I could sum up the state of human affairs in like four lines I would be pretty happy. The Hendrix version is brilliant in its own right, and it’s how I discovered the song. But Dylan’s lyrics, man... Christ Almighty, they are brilliant.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: I usually don’t like to talk shit about music. I think it’s fine that some people see music as a cheap entertainment and that results in songs being produced for quick profit and not really to move anyone too deeply, ha! That being said, careful what you listen to... the wrong music can pollute your soul.

My latest online discovery: A few years ago I was looking up album credits for a Mavis Staples record because the guitarist was amazing. His name is Rick Holmstrom. Crazy thing is I used to listen to him in high school, and I didn’t even realize it was the same guy at first.

Artist more people should know about:
John Mooney out of New Orleans is a true blues musician. The group Hiss Golden Messenger might be my favorite band right now. They are doing well for sure, but I think MC Taylor’s lyrics are going to impact the world. Maybe not now, but when more people get to them.

Guilty pleasure: Maybe me singing along to The Sound of Music soundtrack in my car qualifies.

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