A two-decade-long country music hit-maker gathers no dust, especially in the case of David Lee Murphy.
While he may be best known for his 1995 blockbuster song “Dust on the Bottle,” Murphy has been churning out hits consistently for 25 years, whether it’s his own stuff, like his 2018 No. 1 smash “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” or songs for other artists.
“I’ve had a great time, and I’ve written a bunch of songs and I’ve gotten to play music like a songwriter and a musician. That’s what I’ve always wanted. I’d be out there playing rodeos in a van if that’s what I had to do,” Murphy told the Tennessean.
Some of Murphy’s credits include Kenny Chesney’s “Til It’s Gone,” Jake Owen’s “Anywhere With You,” Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” and Kevin Fowler’s “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer.” In addition, he’s released his own albums intermittently, including 2018’s “No Zip Code.”
“I’ve been really fortunate. A lot of great artists have recorded my songs. I get up every day and get to do something I really love to do, which is write songs. I get to be with artists and the best songwriters anywhere. Plus, I get to record. I sing the demos of the songs, so I’m making little records and being in the studio,” he told The Missourian.
Murphy will bring a variety of those songs for a headlining performance at River Bluff Brewing, 1224 Frederick Ave., as part of its Summer Concert Series. He will be performing at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. The event is sponsored by News-Press NOW.
Part of Murphy’s resurgence is thanks to his friendship with Chesney, who appears on “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” He was writing songs for Chesney when the country superstar said he should keep them for himself.
“He goes, ‘Man, you need to be making a record. I could produce it with Buddy Cannon, and I think people would love it.’ It’s hard to say no to Kenny Chesney when he comes up with an idea like that,” Murphy told The Missourian.
Working with Chesney on what songs Murphy should turn into his own work, which would become “No Zip Code,” Murphy’s first album in 14 years, he said it was a fun, laid-back experience.
“We’ve had a heck of a good time making this record, and I think you can hear that,” he told The Missourian.
One of the trends that has worked in Murphy’s favor is the resurgence of the ’90s country sound, a throwback to more guitar-oriented songs with big hooks and a more relaxed attitude than the aggressive, pop-heavy sound of the 2000s and 2010s. It’s why he believes “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” caught on.
“There’s a lot of new artists nowadays that kinda throw back to that ’90s thing. And it’s just interesting. Music tastes are cyclical, you know? And it’s kind of cool when somebody puts out a ’90s-sounding thing, to me,” he told The Boot.
That’s not to suggest Murphy feels any animosity toward any trend in country. He enjoys seeing the twists and turns it makes.
“I like (all of it), especially Jon Pardi. Stuff like that is really cool,” he told The Boot.
In late 2018, Murphy was among his country peers from both past and present as he accepted the Country Music Award for Musical Event of the Year. it was the first CMA of Murphy’s storied career.
“It was really special because we had put a lot of time into this record. (Chesney) loved this record and it made me really happy that we got this award for that reason. We worked really hard for it,” he told Taste of Country.
The acclaim and appreciation is valued by Murphy and is made better knowing that it was the result of sticking to his guns rather than trying to adhere to a formula. He said his shows are often a mixture of the classics with his current work, both from his solo projects and songs covered by other artists.
“It is just me and the band having a good time playing music. When you can play an hour-and-a-half show of songs that people know, it’s so much fun to see their reaction. Half of the songs can be my songs from the ’90s and half of the songs can be these hits they know by other artists,” he told The Missourian.
Tickets to the concert are $20 to $50. It is open to all ages, but minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian after 8 p.m.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live