Singing cowboy poet Michael Martin Murphey, considered the #1 best-selling singer of American Cowboy Music in the world, returns to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College on Friday, Jan. 16.
Murphey, whose popular songs include "Wildfire," "Geronimo's Cadillac" and "Carolina in the Pines," plus New Mexico's state ballad, "The Land of Enchantment," is a perennial favorite of Durango audiences. He last took the stage at the Community Concert Hall in 2007.
Murphey's latest album, Red River Drifter (2013), marks a return to his freeform songwriting typical on such albums as Blue Sky, Night Thunder, Swans Against The Sun and Geronimo's Cadillac. In the new work, Murphey draws from a deep well of influences that includes everything from classical to bluegrass, jazz to rock, blues to country. Co-produced with son, Ryan Murphey, and guitar ace Pat Flynn, the album has drawn great response, and hit the top of the Billboard Magazine Bluegrass charts within two weeks of its release.
Though he's remained a lifetime resident and loyal son of Texas, Murphey continues on a spiritual quest to capture the soul of the deserts, plains and mountains in the soul of America - from the Carolinas to California, and the Great Plains to the Deep South to the Wild North Country.
The song "Wildfire," the tale of a winter storm that leads to the death of a horse and a girl, has long been the topic of discussion - was it "real" for Murphey? The song has its actual roots in a story told to Murphey by his father about a ghost mustang that jumped off a cliff to avoid capture. After waking from a dream about the ghost horse, Murphey was inspired to write the lyric.
In addition to his own releases, Murphey's songs have been recorded by multiple artists including John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Cher, Lyle Lovett, Flatt & Scruggs, Hoyt Axton, Roger Miller, Bobbie Gentry, Michael Nesmith and The Monkees.
He was inducted into the Texas Songwriters' Hall of Fame and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and is a member of the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame and the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame.
Murphey is also known as the world's most prominent musical representative of the cowboy, ranchers and Western horseman, christened by Richard Farnsworth, legendary Hollywood stunt man and Western actor, as a "master horseman." Passionate about the outdoors, Murphey maintains a strong commitment to issues regarding farmers and ranchers, open space, and management of natural resources. As an avid lover of American history, Murphey frequently aligns himself with such causes as the ongoing restoration of the "Home on the Range cabin" in Kansas and the Bosque Redondo, a museum dedicated to the history of the Navajo Indian tribe.
View a live version of "Wildfire" performed by Michael Martin Murphey at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl4Y4FWWkn0.
Tickets for Michael Martin Murphey ($29, $34, $39) are available on-line at www.durangoconcerts.com, by calling 247-7657, or visit the Ticket Office inside the Durango Welcome Center at 8th Street and Main Avenue in Downtown Durango.