"I've always been obsessed with people who were just married to their instrument and their art form," Todd Murray says, "like Jeff Buckley, Bill Evans, Rufus Wainwright, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan. They didn't always need a band to do what they did."
Murray — you know him by his stage name Sincerely, Iris — is explaining why, despite a youthful infatuation with guitar greats like Jimmy Page, and the desire to be part of a rock 'n' roll band, he writes, plays and sings all by his lonesome.
"I always saw myself in a band in the beginning," he adds. "But I had trouble with people committing. I guess I had no other choice."
A Midwesterner who moved to Savannah in 2010, Murray has become a familiar figure on the local acoustic scene. This week, he's releasing his third full-length album, Best Left Free, produced by Brenden Robertson of Love Music and Live Wire Sounds.
It's a bold, compelling set of original tunes, full of glorious lyrical twists and melodic turns. Sincerely, Iris remains Savannah's most idiosyncratic (and enjoyable) acoustic artist.
The title tune is a rumination on the nature of love and freedom, featuring Murray's chiming guitars and hypnotic Celtic-style fiddle work from Ricardo Ochoa.
Other Savannah guests on Best Left Free include James Lee Smith (guitar), Eric Dunn (bass), Adam Garner (drums) and pianist Kevin Wallace.
All that stuff's used sparingly; the record's core is Murray's voice and guitar. - Connect Savannah