Joe's Biography

by Joe McMurrian

about

Joe McMurrian is a modern acoustic Country Blues & Roots based songwriter/musician that pushes the boundaries of traditional roots music and performance. An extremely powerful live performer and story teller who can blow the roof off any stage while feeding the heart with honesty, warmth and truth. He has learned from the old masters, lived the music, survived the life and carries forward a valuable tradition. McMurrian is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable powerful live performances. At the heart of this is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters—from the faceless to the legendary—to strikingly real life while freely transitioning between structure and improvisation.

Joe is a Finger style/slide guitar master who incorporates numerous tunings and styles like no other. As a singer, his voice is powerful and emotive, smooth, dynamic and smoky cool. Doing all of this together at once as a one-man performer is a very rare feet and he is only getting started. His voice of maturity is filled with the blues that he has breathed and lived, the country he comes from and the people he loves.

Joe McMurrian hails from the Delta, the San Joaquin Delta in Northern California. He grew up in the little farming town of Brentwood next to the Antioch river and surrounding Delta region. He grew up walking through the alfalfa fields and walnut, Peach and apricot orchards learning Carter Family tunes, John Lee Hooker rhythms and old gospel standards.

His family hails from Texas and the hills of Oklahoma. His grandfather ran white lightning one too many times in the late 30's back in the hills of Buffalo valley Oklahoma leading to the eventual expulsion of Joe's side of the McMurrian clan from the state. Soon the family popped up in Norther California next to the Antioch river, where the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers join up to delta out through farm land as far as the bird can fly. Joe was born on april 5th 1968 in Concord California.

While later living in Los Angeles for 11 years, he would perform on the streets and in the clubs of Los Angeles. It was here that he first heard the REAL blues, the Delta blues. If he wasn't performing, he spent his time as a mural painter, often traveling t through the American south painting mural’s for casinos and hotels along highway 61 or studying to receive his Master's degree in FIne Art.

During these influential years he often found himself at the feet of living masters like Honey Boy Edwards, Jack Owens, Louisiana Red and R.L Burnside to name a few. In addition to these, Joe has toured or shared the stage with the likes of Johnny Winter, John Mayhall, Roy Rodgers, George Thorogood, Derek Trucks, & Robert Cray. These meetings heavily impacted Joe and nailed his coffin shut with a deep passion for the blues and roots music of America.

Press:

"No cliché stuff here. No predictable, typical blues slock here - only smart, eloquent, modern music that is at the same time well soaked in old weird American traditional music. Daring, original, deep, sweet, dark, exciting are some of the adjectives that come to ones mind when listening to him. You are greeted with a whirlwind of sounds that he creates with his guitar and voice. Deep as the wood’s and delta where he comes from, dark as the river water he grew up swimming in and uplifting as the traditional American melodies and stories he was raised with.." L.A Times

‘Get Inside This House’ voted Best Independent Blues Release of the Year by the International Blues Foundation of Memphis.

CBA – Cascade Blues Association
"His fingerpicking and slide skills amaze and challenge listeners while his moving vocals draw them into the world of a true story teller.."
Cascade Blues Association Portland, OR 2006

Honey Boy Edwards says – Honey Boy Edwards
"Thank you for doing that one son, like Tommy Johnson used to do, but different, really nice, really good you know. I like that.."

Charlie Musslewhite says – Charlie Musslewhite
" I like your playing, you sure can rip on that Delta style...."

Joe McMurrian is a great, gritty singer – Oregonian
"Joe McMurrian is a great, gritty singer and a fluid fingerstyle guitarist with more than a little Delta influence in his sound - and the artistic moxie to make it sound fresh yet timeless.."
Oregonian, A&E music review

Oregonian - spellbinding yarns – Oregonian
"spellbinding yarns. In among the mischievous spirits and tortured souls, McMurrian plays mystic, conjuring up the dark side of the heart armed only with a guitar and voice. You have to wonder if he didn't strike the same deal as Delta shaman Robert Johnson..Joe McMurrian is a great, gritty singer and a fluid fingerstyle guitarist with more than a little Delta influence in his sound - and the artistic moxie to make it sound fresh yet timeless"
Oregonian, A&E music review.

credits

released April 5, 1968

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Joe McMurrian Portland, Oregon

McMurrian is a singer-songwriter in the American tradition. McMurrian is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable live performances.


"McMurrian plays mystic, conjuring up the dark side of the heart armed only with a guitar and voice. You have to wonder if he didn't strike the same deal as Delta shaman Robert Johnson."
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