Behind the soulful and passionate musicianship of O Boss Man are the raw, stripped-down voices and stories of two men who literally followed their dreams. Bob Murray and Jeremiah McLane perform music about dreams, demons, archetypes and the battle for the soul. Their work together explores the landscape of their inner journeys. Bob’s songs have an early Tom Waits’ air about them—bluesy, raw, uncompromising, edgy yet undeniably tender. They cut right to the heart, are deeply personal, unabashedly exploring truths and feelings long-denied or avoided. Jeremiah’s music has strong Franco-Celtic influences; he combines a gift of improvisation with a keen appreciation for the power of melody.
In their first collaborative effort, Murray and McLane have created an album vibrant with feeling, love, energy and grace, that blends the poetry of Murray’s lyrics with the world music sensibility of McLane’s musical arrangements. Their songs incorporate a myriad of styles—blues, jazz, rock, folk, among many—at times, tender and delicate, other times, raucous and driving.
Bob Murray, a former professional hockey player, business executive, poet-recluse, and high school English teacher, is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the musical stage. In fact, were it not for his steadfast willingness to be guided by the messages of his dreams, the Guild guitar he purchased about twenty years ago would still be gathering dust in the attic and the closest he’d have ever come to the stage in this lifetime would have been the front row. But he is singing and playing that Guild guitar for audiences these days, and the narrative of the title song, “O Boss Man,” played a significant role in that shift. About five years ago, in a dream, Bruce Springsteen invited Murray to join him on stage to play and sing. Scared, yet apparently willing, Murray stepped up.
Two solo albums later, he is still stepping up and into unfamiliar territory, toward places where fear resides—in this case, into the vulnerability of working collaboratively with his good friend, Jeremiah McLane. About this, he says, “I can see now that the more I was genuinely willing to enter into this relationship with Jer, the richer the rewards. Talk about a gift, or rather, gifts--a deeper level of authenticity in our friendship (something I've never been very good at) which clearly manifest itself in the depth of the creative work we did together. The song, O Boss Man, is a great example. Written about five years ago and intended as a solo effort accompanied only by acoustic guitar, I've witnessed its evolution over the past few months at the hands of Jer's genius for arrangement and accompaniment into this glorious anthem that has seemingly taken on a life of its own. I love it--it is rich, and layered, and gathers steam from verse to verse...not unlike, it would seem, the gathering steam and strength of our friendship—something I both respect and treasure.”
For his part, McLane, a professional instrumental musician of several decades, says, “Working with Bob has been a miracle for me, like getting to experience music the way I did as an eight-year-old: open, playful, and joyous. I never thought I would sing with such an open heart.” On his autobiographical song, “Crossroads,” he tells how a dream helped him see the way he had “sold his soul to the devil”: in return for a career in music he put away his childish notion of singing his own songs, telling his own story. McLane’s collaboration with Murray marks the end of this deal with the devil, and the emergence of a powerful voice singing songs of truth and redemption.
Together the two songwriters create a world inside the outside, where the joys and pains of a true spiritual journey can be expressed—a world where the enormous potential of the soul can be praised in full voice.
Murray has two live solo albums, Alligator Tears and Lifelines. He is also the author of a spiritual memoir, A Chicken Hawk Goes Home: One Man’s Journey Through Archetypal Dreamwork. McLane’s extensive repertoire includes solo albums Freetown and Smile When You’re Ready and additional albums with Nightingale, the Clayfoot Strutters, and Le Bon Vent. Together they teach a class called Musicality: Vulnerability through Music, at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork in Montpelier.