CD REVIEW: Putnam Murdock - Brand New Window
By Cyrus Rhodes - 04/12/2012 - 02:45 PM EDT
Artist: Putnam Murdock
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Album: Brand New Window
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Sounds Like: The Black Crows, Rob Thomas, Jeff Buckley
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Wages of Hope, When I Die, California Song
Weakness: A few winded songs.
Massachusetts based singer/songwriter Putnam Murdock releases his latest CD entitled Brand New Window in 2012. I was fascinated to learn that Murdock was aiming for an old school, organic sound via a 24 track analog tape recording system at Dreamland Studios in West Hurley (not far from Woodstock in Upstate New York).
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with “Wages of Hope” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming blues rock guitar ditty against impressive Americana groove, well placed slide guitar and soulful melody from Murdock. Track 2 “The Promise” keeps thing moving in the smooth direction with heartfelt vocal delivery from Murdock against steady flowing rhythm and hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up ballad. Track 3 “Marshlands” is another impressive groove that dishes out slow moving rhythm, against thought provoking lyrical content and a grand slam chorus. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic R&B, Americana, with brief touches of psychedelic Rock of the early 70’s. Music is reminiscent of classic Led Zeppelin, Cream with brief splashes of The Black Crows and John Mayer. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like slamming Saloon Piano, impressive rhythm guitar, well placed Hammond Organ chops, thick as a brick rhythm section and lush harmonies layered everywhere. What I like the most about Murdock is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Murdock - as for his vocal abilities well – he’s amazing! His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I suspect some of his vocal influences are – Chris Robinson (Black Crows), Rob Thomas, Jeff Buckley, and Kid Rock. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. This CD from Murdock delivers 10 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Putnam Murdock has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From compelling “When I Die” to the slamming “Butcher Dogs” to heartfelt “The Island” to smooth as silk “California Song” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Places of the Soul” a perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
I normally dedicate this paragraph to any weaknesses discovered. As you can see I have nothing major to report. All songs over 3.5 minutes in length tend to drag you to the finish line. Overall it’s fari to say some pieces are a bit winded. Track 5 feels a bit incomplete to me logging in at 2 minites and some change. .
From start to finish Brand New Window is an amazing collection of music from Putnam Murdock. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities are rock solid. The melodies, harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with priceless wisdom and good old fashioned R&B swagger. Last but not least the vocal presence of Murdock is breathtaking and infectious. Hats off to Murdock as well for recording this catalogue via Analog Tape Device for that nice, warm feel comparable to a warm blanket.
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