By Lyons Bluesologist, David McIntrye
Kristina Murray moved to Boulder in 2007, after growing up in and around Atlanta Georgia. She began attending local jam sessions and bluegrass picks as often as possible and soon had people encouraging her to write songs and perform solo. Her first time on stage was 2009, and I remember the first time I heard that honey-soaked voice at one of our tributes to Gram
Parsons at Oskar Blues in Lyons.
Murray had been singing with a bluegrass group that all surrounded one microphone in the traditional style. So when it came to singing into separate microphones, she was so nervous she never got close enough to that one microphone to be heard well in the room. It was obvious to me however, that there was a great talent and voice there, even if we could barely hear her. I remember thinking this gal sounds like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline put together and will surely one day be a star around here.
Kistrina has since learned to use a microphone much better, and has recently put out a wonderful rockin’ country/honky-tonk CD called Unravelin’, which has caused this reviewer to dub her, “Colorado’s queen of honky-tonk music.” Since the release of Unravelin’ Murray has been gigging locally, and has received a slew of good press and is looking to take her career to the next level. “All I know is that dues-paying time is forthcoming, so if I have to play a bunch of dives and tough bars, I’m okay with that,” she says. “As long as it’s honest, as long as it’s real and strong.”
The CD made up of eleven original songs of love and loss, traveling, and drinking. Murray’s strong and soulful voice carries the tunes with driving beats, soaring fiddle, and pedal steel guitar behind her. It was recorded in Fort Collins by Darren Radach at his Stout Studios. The songs of Hank Williams and Jimmie Rogers aren’t heard on the radio anymore and honest and simple songs have seemed to go by the wayside with Nashville’s current country singer/songwriters. Backed by seasoned musicians Murray touches on musical influences from the Allman Brothers to Alan Jackson of her native Georgia, and to all forms of country and Americana. Fans of the Bakersfield and Austin sound will find a home in her songs.
“Overall, I think that southern feel, that southeastern feel, comes through in my writing and playing and singing,” says Murray. “I started out listening to country music when I was pretty young. I got into those mid-90’s Nashville people. From there I went back and discovered the legends and the heroes like Emmylou Harris and people like that who especially influence my sound. My parents were from Georgia and listened to the Allman Brothers and Dylan, so that’s been a large influence. I have been through phases. I even went through a rap-music phase and a bluegrass phase as well. But I’ve always been country and rock and roll.”
The opening song on Unravelin’ is “Smoke and Brown Whiskey” and it sets the tone with a beginning rock-ish drum roll while the second number, “I Can’t Recall,” is a fairly straightforward honky-tonk number, complete with clinking piano, fiddle, and lyrics about drinking away heartache in a bar. On that subject Kristina reflects, “Some of that old classic stuff, the heartbreak, whiskey drinking; you can have a million different points of view sitting in a bar, and I think that’s why there are so many songs about sitting in a bar. Why change what isn’t broken?”
So come on by Oskar Blues in Lyons on Friday, February 21, and enjoy one of the best female vocalist you will ever hear, and pick up a copy of this great Colorado CD.