James Murdoch Live At The Backstage Lounge
Canada is a whirlpool of talent, but it is extremely hard to break into the music business without the right motivation and without enough passion. Lucky for us, James Murdoch possesses all of these qualities that will one day launch him all across the world.
You can describe him as a child prodigy who has matured into adulthood. Born and raised in beautiful Whitehorse, Yukon, James was essentially born to be a rockstar. His father and uncles were all established writers, while his mother was a concert producer. If his life was a book, all these elements foreshadow his future as an accomplished musician. So far the story is going as planned, as his first solo record “Polyphonic” was nominated in 2001 and 2002 for “Outstanding Pop Record” at The West Coast Music Awards and Prairie Music Week. In 2004, the success story continued with James being signed to Montreal based Indica Records. This would prove to be a great turning point for James, as he would now be exposed to a much wider audience and a bigger pool of talent to work off of. He followed up his first record with “Between the Lines” which garnered much radio and video play on the likes of Much More Music and MTV Canada.
With his own success, James was able to open up Norwood Studio in Edmonton to help other talented young artists start their own career, such as Amy Seely and The Wheat Pool. This, however, did not stop him from creating his own music, and in 2005, he released “Postcards EP” and followed that up in 2007 with his most current album titled “In Transit”. His latest album is produced by musician/producer Hawksley Workman, which, in my mind, gives James instant credibility. With Workman playing on many tracks, and other talented musicians contributing, this album is produced to perfection.
I was lucky enough to watch James Murdoch perform at the The Backstage Lounge when he was in town a while ago. Before his set, I sat down with him and talked about his musical background as well as his new album. What amazed me most was his professionalism as a musician. With his musical talent, he has been able to travel the world, from Spain to New York, and with all of these experiences in mind, he was able to create a solid record “In Transit.” When he was on an East Coast tour of Canada, he received a phone call from none other than Hawksley Workman, asking if he could produce his new record. With all of these elements combined, there was no doubt that this would be a great record.
His live performance was just as amazing. The passion he exuded on stage truly showed his desire to make great music. He can be described as a blend of Keane and Jason Collett, with a touch of Paul McCartney and Coldplay. James is a great example of how young Canadian artists are putting together full bands of surprising quality and touring for way less money than they deserve. There were many highlights to the night, too many to name off, but what impressed me the most was his versatility. He could change from a danceable tune to a soft ballad without making the transition too awkward, which made the set sound smooth and pleasing. There were three songs that stood out for me. First being a song titled “Goodnight” which is a tender ballad that can touch anyone’s frozen heart and turn it into mush. This was followed by “Give me your love,” which is a funk-rock based track, which can make just about anyone get off their seat and dance. The final song that impressed me was the first track off his new album “Get what you deserve.” The passion the entire band exuded on stage for this song was electric, and it truly invigorated the audience.