b. Mike Murphy, 19 November 1959, Fort Hood, Texas, USA. New York singer-songwriter Murphy fronted alt rock band the Skels from the late 80s through the early 90s. After their disintegration, he left the raucous rocking behind and worked for a while on a performance project centered around American music of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. In the wake of this experience, drawing on his love for Scott Walker and Brian Wilson, Murphy reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter with the elegant melodic bent those influences imply. His self-released solo debut, Willoughby, arrived in 1997, but it was reissued two years later by renowned indie label Kill Rock Stars, which also released his next two albums. Where Willoughby was a relatively earthy affair that bordered at times on Americana, the 2000 follow-up, Magic Beans, boasted an expansive approach and elaborate arrangements. In 2003, Murphy paid tribute to his firefighter nephew, who died in the 9/11 tragedy, with Uncle, a powerful, personal statement and one of the year’s most moving and under-appreciated releases. In the latter part of the decade Murphy’s music found favour in France, and he began directing his career toward this new-found fanbase.
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