" His fingerpicking and slide skills amaze and challenge listeners while his moving vocals draw them into the world of a true story teller.."
Cascade Blues Association Portland, OR 2006
CDBABY ***** five star rating review:
It's refreshing to hear traditional acoustic blues get a modern makeover and still maintain an allegiance to its roots. Sounds like a tall order, but the 15 tracks here are solid proof that it can be pulled off with moving, honest results. Using a precise and strong finger picking and slide style, McMurrian wastes no time showing that he is tremendously adept at both guitar and banjo, able to beautifully manipulate each instrument and give every song a unique sound. Adding to that, 14 of the 15 songs here are original compositions(the exception being the opening track, a wonderfully revamped take on the traditional "Going to Memphis to See Her There"), and 11 feature his equally jaw-dropping backing band. As if this wasn't enough, McMurrian's gravelly vocals and gray-tinted lyrics sync perfectly with the mood and feeling of each distinct offering, allowing this album to be varied and cohesive all at once.
" I like your playing, you sure can rip on that Delta style son...."
Charlie Musslewhite 2004
Joe McMurrian is a Delta Blues/Roots songwriter based in Portland Oregon. He has a rich capability to infuse tradition with contemporary invention through his intense finger-style, slide guitar work and original storytelling. He incorporates the delta slide over a fluid finger style approach reminiscent of a Robert Pete Williams, Skip James or Bert Jansch with a rhythmic base out of R.L Burnside, Big Joe Williams and Roscoe Holcomb. He has been compared to such modern masters as Chris Smither and Kelly Joe Phelps, but has a voice all his own and a bag of visions and sounds true to his own experience and delivery.
Joe has performed at countless venues & numerous festivals Including the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2004,05,06, Portland Brewers Festival, Park City Utah Founders Tile Bluegrass and Folk Festival, Pasadena Blues Festival, String Summit and the Listening Room concert series in Los Angeles. He has performed with such luminaries as Paul Geramia, Keb Mo, Paul Livingstone, Eddie Kirkland, Louisiana Red, John McEuen, Charlie Musslewhite, Preacher Boy, HoneyBoy Edwards, Sonny Landreth, John Mayall, Anne Weiss & Little Charley and the Nightcats. Currently Joe lives in Portland Oregon and can be heard on radio stations KBOO 90.7 fm, KMHD 89.9fm, Kink 102 FM or can be spotted at any number of venues around town.
Progressive Acoustic Blues
Announcing the release of Joe's new studio CD :
Rain of days
"Blues, Folk songwriter/guitarist Joe McMurrian has released a very impressive new collection of songs entitled Rain of Days. 15 tracks total, 14 originals, 11 with his impressive Portland based band: Jason Honl on Bass, Jason Stewart on Drums. David Lipkind of Spigot and I Can Lick Any SOB guests on three tracks with a masterfull harmonica flare. Joe's trademark acoustic guitar style is on display here in force, but never overpowers these gorgeously deep songs. His inventiveness with improvisational moments shine throughout this collection of songs. Four songs are solo spotlighting Joe's command of the lone guitar/voice. His subtle use of complex rhythmic overlays, slide and finger style imbelishments become a vehicle to propel the songs towards unexpected levels. The first track, Going to Memphis to See Her There, is an forcefull hats off to Fred McDowell, R.L Burnside and Big Joe Williams that starts the disk off to an impressive beginning. For the remaining 14 tracks, McMurrian delivers a rarely heard conglomeration of influences and original style driven by a high energy improvisational Blues based approach. Coated with a smolderingly smooth vocal delivery painting ethereal pictures of places, moments, relationships, memories and metaphysical observations. Like his contemporaries Alvin Youngblood Hart, Chris Smither, Kelly Joe Phelps, or the late Chris Whitley, Joe isn't content rehashin 70-year old licks. He's looking for, and finding new routes...while taking some old roads to get there.." Montana Arts and Culture Music review 2006
"Rural fingerstyle fluidity across a rhythmic delta intensity. An amazing listen...." Kpsu Radio Portland, OR