Album Review: Chris Murphy – The Tinker’s Dream

Violinist, composer and band leader Chris Murphy has been on a musical rampage across the world for more than 25 years now and he shows no sign of reducing the pace. He has more records from a variety of bands, projects and solo work than you can shake a stick at and his tour diary is one of the most extensive and continual that you could hope to come across. However, despite somehow being in perpetual motion he has still managed to find the time to compose and record his latest and greatest album, The Tinker’s Dream.

The Tinker’s Dream is a charming and charismatic collection of songs that have been lovingly composed by Murphy that utilise his break-neck violin skills to the best of his ability. There is a rich and flowing vein of Celtic fusion that flows throughout the album that is deeply evocative. Conjuring up mental images of rolling green hillsides and smoke stacks rising from the chimneys of small thatched cottages dotted in the lush countryside. Deep and stunningly visual for a man who has produced an album whilst uttering only a few words on a choice selection of tracks, his songs paint image after image, dissolving and reimagining themselves before you. One of the most charming elements to Murphy’s work is the fact that through its rich Celtic heritage it retains a timeless quality to it as it displays a distinct nod to the musicians of old, who played through town squares and bars long before recording contracts ever existed.

Although infrequent, it’s not too long before you are introduced to Murphy’s distinctive vocals. They echo to life over the top of the jovial and dancing tune for Wicklow. With such a wonderful collection of joyous and toe-tapping tunes it’s no surprise when you hear a warm, smooth voice that rings out around you, raising itself gradually above the foot-stomping melodies he wraps around himself. Everything about The Tinker’s Dream echoes with old fashioned charm; close your eyes and you could easily be in an ancient tavern, sawdust on the floor and a barrel of ale behind the bar. His music carries an almost fairytale quality within it that is only elevated by his radiant and cheerful vocals.

Everything in Murphy’s music is perfectly polished and honed to perfection. Tailored over what sound like millennia his music is crafted with a deep care and affection that shines through in every note. The Tinker’s Dream is a vibrant and joyous album that is brimming with toe-tapping melodies and raucous fiddle medleys that could make the devil himself green with envy.

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Review by Joe Knipe