MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY, “Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song,” Rural Rhythm. 12 tracks.
It’s hard to believe that Michael Martin Murphey, the cowboy singer, will turn 65 this month.
But then, he’s been performing for 46 of those years now.
Murphey got his first break in 1967, performing as a duo with Owen Castleman in the Lewis & Clarke Expedition. They had moderate hit with “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad).”
But he was primarily a songwriter until 1975, when he took “Wildfire,” a song about a horse, to No. 3 on the pop charts.
Murphey appeared steadily on the country music charts for the next 15 years or so and then returned to cowboy music.
Last year, he released his first bluegrass album, “Buckaroo Blue Grass.” It garnered a Grammy nomination.
Now, Murphey is back with “Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song.”
He wrote or co-wrote all the songs except “Running Gun,” a Marty Robbins classic from 1959.
Naturally, “Wildfire” is included along with 1973’s “Cosmic Cowboy,” 1976’s “Swans Against The Sun,” 1979’s “Backslider’s Wine” and 1986’s “Rollin’ Nowhere.”
Some newer material and some less familiar older songs are also featured.
Once again, Murphey is backed by a strong group of bluegrass musicians including Pat Flynn, Andy Leftwich, Andy Hall, Charlie Cushman, Ronny McCoury, Sam Bush, Rob Ickes and Audie Blaylock.
The bluegrass-and-western genre is a niche within a musical niche and “Buckaroo Blue Grass II” will definitely be its biggest release of 2010.
Can’t find it in stores? Try www.murphsranchmarket.com.