Putnam Murdock - Brand New Widow
- Artist: Putnam Murdock
- Album: Brand New Widow
- Year of Release: 2011
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: solitaryman on 2012-04-10
Folk Singer/Songwriter Putnam Murdock is an accomplished, seasoned musician hailing from Massachusetts. With a claim to musical pedigree, Putnam cut his teeth very early on the music of his father's musical quartet, the Centre Streeters. With roots firmly established in the folk stylings of his earliest influences, Putnam has helped carried a traditional form of music forward into the new millenium via notable songwriting and performances. With credits that include nationally syndicated televison shows, motion pictures and even some precursory Grammy recognition, Putnam Murdock has seemingly already made a name for himself. As a first-time listener, Brand New Widow, his most recent full-length record, offers up ample justification for all the above.
First and foremost, what shines forward is Putnam's smooth, crystal clear vocal stylings and the songwriting talents of himself and collaborator Tom J. Carlisle. The strength of all truly impacting singer/songwriter folk is the depth of space within each individual composition; the open air in which stories are told with minimal selfishness and the upmost class. "Wages Of Hope" is one such excellent number that introduces the album, a steady piece of Americana that features intriguing vocal/slide guitar interplay and a subdued, yet aggressive, percussive push forward. "The Promise" lets loose with a little saloon romanticism, an upbeat, swinging track with some excellent piano work and warm, familiar lyrics. "Marshlands" is where one may start to realize the subtle manner in which Putnam Murdock avoids any singular approach to his songwriting; his vocals take on a wider range of melodic avenues, the piano is restrained and works to accent what is a very gritty, soulful visage of a lonely traveller. Further into the more mellow and meloncholy greys goes "When I Die", one of the album's best written tracks and a song that seemingly begs to be in rotation on modern country radio. A familiar story of a man coming to terms with his inevitable demise, yet the unique voice Putnam addresses the subject with allows for a fresh telling of an ageless tale. The title track is a relatively short bit of low-key hook-fueled melody, where Putnam sounds even more outside of himself with a soulful upper-register approach. The remainder of the album is solid as well, with the slinking, grimy Tom Waits-esque "Butcher Dogs" a personal highlight of mine.
So, as I said, Brand New Widow is nothing less than a shining set of examples of the talent and appreciation for a long-lived genre Putnam Murdock brings to the table. A lifetime of musical inclination has led him to one of the more interesting and enjoyable folk albums you're going to hear in 2012, and, perhaps, long after. At least until the next fork in this man's life leads him to his next project. Not only has this firmly put his name on my radar, but has revived in me a love for folk and Americana in general that has laid dormant for quite some time. And that just may be the highest praise I can give this fantastic album.
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