It's no surprise that Seattle-based Larry Murante is gaining a reputation as one of the finest contemporary singer songwriters to emerge from the Northwest in recent years.
Larry's two CD releases, Kiss Me One More Time (1994) and Water's Edge (2000) have garnered critical acclaim from all over the country and parts of Europe. In the past few years he's racked up a string of national and regional songwriting awards and honors including 2009 Grassy Hill Kerrville Newfolk Finalist, 2009 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Finalist, 2009 Honorable mention in both the Unisong international Songwriting Competition and the Peacedriven.com songwriting competition, first place winner of the 1999 Wildflower Songwriting Contest in Richardson, Texas, and was a showcase finalist at the 1999 Falcon Ridge Festival in Hillsdale, NY.
Larry tours nationally, performing at folk concerts, festivals, radio interviews and house concerts.
Victory Review: Acoustic Music Review Magazine
by Richard Middleton
Seattle singer-songwriter Larry Murante's long-anticipated second CD was certainly worth the wait. It's an impressive collection of vivid character sketches and cinematic stories that show clearly why Murante has recently taken top honors in so many song contests, including Wildflower (winner '99), Falcon Ridge (finalist '99), Tumbleweed (winner '98, finalist '99), and Lakewood's own LakeFolkFest (top-5 winner, '98). Some of the winning songs are here, including the title track, a sensitive portrait of an insensitive man seen through the admiring eyes of his young fishing partner, who senses some of the vulnerability beneath the tough exterior. And "Streets of Seattle," a multi-layered mini-epic about a standoff between the police and a sword-wielding troubled soul in a downtown parking garage.
Other standouts are "Katie's House," a bluesy groove which features some extremely tasty playing by dobro master Orville Johnson, and another contest winner, "Those Days," a sweet song made all the sweeter by John Reischman's lovely mandolin lines. There are also some great contributions from David Lange on keys (who also co-produced and engineered the album), and Mike Mattingly and Lee Silberkleit on electric guitars. Of course, the standout performer on the CD is Murante himself, who has a beautiful, smoky, full-bodied voice, and he's known everywhere he goes for his vocal command and soulful, expressive delivery.
Great songs, great arrangements and great performances -- highly recommended.
Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews
by Kevin McCarthy, April 2000
In Larry Murante's second release, he fulfills the role of the yeoman singer/songwriter as he calls on and presents memories, life events and observations from his and other's lives. The larger question though, as with all artists, is does he make them compelling and interesting? The answer is yes.
Employing intermittent acoustic and electric guitar, piano, organ, dobro and mandolin backing,and mixing harder, rock-tinged cuts with quieter songs, Murante also displays an appealing voice that contains an emotional pitch that works well with his material.
"Between the Road and the River" depicts the bonds, visible and invisible, that tie us to people and places we have seemingly left behind. Murante sings:
"...Oh, this Delaware River's rushin' mud downstream
Haven't stood on this bank for years, we would walk between
That road and this river 'til the day I moved out of here...
"Where would I be if I stayed here? Have I really left this place at all?
Where are you now? Who do you love? Do I really want to know?...
"Why are these geese acting like they know me? Look like a bunch of old friends of mine. There's a spell in this air that still owns me You can't break it with miles or time..."
Turning a bit sly, Murante tells of the effect that a mentally ill man with a machete has on others in downtown Seattle with "Streets of Seattle:"
"...And when the suburban soccer mom called the Mayor's office that day
And suggested swat team sharpshooters could put all of this man's miseries away...
"Oh the police chief was so nervous 'cause they've made mistakes before
And all those latte swilling bystanders can turn ugly if they get bored..."
The stages of life, plus the willingness to accept and the resignation to endure the given, drives "I Got Used To It." Murante begins:
"We were as tight as ink and a fountain pen
We said we'd write our story to the very end
We were a trashy little novel brought in lots of tears
Never made best seller we've been out of print for years
And I got used to it..."
Profiling the teen years, the twenties, the feelings of frustration and incompleteness, and finally a decision to change, Murante goes on:
"...I used to tend my garden with fear and shame
Blacked out the sun I held back the rain
Now I don't hold on to my regrets.
"Try not to settle for the second best Just brings me closer to a life
I would love to get used to Yeah, a life I'd love to get used to.
"Now you and me are like ink and a fountain pen
We're gonna tell this story like there is no end
'Cause I can love so much better than I did before
So much ground yet to cover you and me got
So many secrets to explore and we'll get used to it."
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Elevated by sweet mandolin backing, "Those Days" tells the tale of a pair of young musicians full of fire and fury. One eventually shifts to other endeavors, the other continues on:
"...I still send my songs to Nashville sometimes
And as of yet there's still no reply
But I change my strings for every single gig
While yours are gettin' rusty you say it ain't your thing anymore."
"This Ship" is loving ode to the beauty and wonder of being in the right relationship. Murante sings:
"I think more about devotion the more I look at you
You say love is just like one big ocean blue
We've been castaways and holdouts for some far and distant shore
When this ship was all that we were looking for
If you ask if I'll go with you now, I will, I will..."
A relative newcomer, Murante's off to a solid start and demonstrates the talent necessary to carve out a niche in the folk genre. He's a solid songwriter and has the ability to tie music and lyrics together into a pleasing package.
Murante on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica is backed by David Lange on piano and organ; Dan Mohler on bass; Walter White on bass and background vocals; Dave Heath on drums; Orville Johnson on dobro; John Reischman on mandolin; Mike Mattingly on electric guitar; Lee Silberkleit on electric guitar; Janis Carper on background vocals and acoustic slide guitar; Patrice O'Neill in background vocals; Connie Bigelow on background vocals; and Allison Roberts on background vocals.