Lilac Tree

Julie Murphy

CD only BEJOCD-38

 
ENTERED FOR THE 2002 MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE

 

 

FOUR STAR REVIEW in Q MAGAZINE!
'Why scour the globe for wonderful voices when there are singers such as Julie Murphy on the doorstep? Without the songs, though, a remarkable voice would only be half the battle. Sparsely arranged yet highly atmospheric, Lilac Tree is the golden-throated Murphy's giant leap forward, a beautifully flowing acoustic collection that draws much of its character from Tim Harries doing his Danny Thompson thing on bass. As with Kathryn Williams, the memory of Nick Drake looms large. And just like Williams's Little Black Numbers, this is an album that, from the sensual pull of the opening Kiss Like That onwards, has appeal way beyond the folk constituency'

Peter Kane, Q Magazine * * * *

MOJO FOLK ALBUM OF THE MONTH! (August 2002)
'By now we really shouldn't be surprised by anything that Julie Murphy delivers. In the past she has given us traditional material, Welsh language songs, and made bold excursions into world music... and now there is a first album of her own original material. And what is more, given her track record, we really shouldn't be surprised, either, that it's so very good. Murphy seems to have the Midas touch and while these songs - most co-written with Fernhill guitarist and singer Richard Llewellyn - are a slow burn, they gnaw away at you with instant guile. Her songwriting was apparently sparked by the death of her father, and the album recorded in a four-day frenzy of activity at the Dreamworld studios in Pembrokeshire. The result is a low-key album of understated passion and minimalist jazzy arrangements (an extraordinary arrangement of Fighting for Strangers)...
Murphy is a class act who invests her songs with such an instinctively subtle gravitas you are drawn in before you know it. Deeply impressive.'
Colin Irwin, Mojo

'A fantastic album'
Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

'As a singer she always seems to find hidden depths... a hugely committed and passionate record'
fROOTS

'Some albums catch an artist or group right in their prime, others are full of great songs, while others capture a mood perfectly. Julie Murphy's second solo offering does a little of everything as it leads the listener through a range of emotions, but saves its knockout punch for a final track of rare intensity... On Cilgerran (Glory of Love) you will discover why Julie is Eliza Carthy's favourite vocalist. This is an extraordinary, beautiful song, a cocktail of restraint and simplicity, of sparse guitar lines and understated backing vocals combining to create a hugely emotional finale. Surely destined as the closing track for some future tear-laden film epic, Cilgerran demonstrates the blossoming of Julie Murphy's talent both as a writer and singer. What a mouthwatering prospect her next album is'.
BBC Online

'Julie Murphy is a fabulous vocalist... LILAC TREE is a moving and inventive acoustic work that warps Murphy's folk leanings through the arcs of jazz and soul to form a distinctive and compelling work.'
Get Rhythm

'Born in Essex, Julie Murphy moved to Wales after art school and clearly found a welcome on the hillside. On Lilac Tree she reveals her personal concerns and deploys her finely honed folk voice in a less restricting context. This collection of soulful, spacey folk-rock might nestle comfortably alongside Tim Buckley or Van Morrison's Astral Weeks'.
Sunday Times * * *

'Her pop sensibilities are well to the fore, making this a much more widely accessible album than previous work. These ten songs are sparsely arranged for guitar, grainy muted trumpet, softly tinkling piano, gently brushed drums and acoustic double bass. Fans of Joni Mitchell, van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Fairport Convention, alt.country, and low-key live sounding production will appreciate'.
HMV Choice

'Soulful, spacey folk-rock'
The Sunday Times

'Lilac Tree is one of those rare albums where everything comes together - words and music, singer and band, technique and feel. It's restrained and moving, meditative and sexy, thoughtful and sensuous. It's all of a piece and it's stunning'
Planet magazine

'A singular CD that rises above the folk singer-songwriter genre to make an intimate artistic statement'
Green Man Review

'Produced by Julie Murphy with songs co-written with Richard Llewellyn this is an outstanding CD. What sets this singer-songwriter apart from the unending line of female singer-songwriters all setting their angst & personal, too personal subjective responses to music, is that there is a real sense of perspective and storytelling in these songs. There is strength and vulnerability in Murphy's voice which transmits an emotional intensity, an empathy with the world around her and the imperfections that mar human relations. A song like 'Leave him' addresses the problem of a woman in an unsatisfying relationship with some man who obviously has no interest in who and what his wife/lover really cares about the realms of heart and soul. Sung as advice from a friend this song will probably strike a chord with anyone who has lived through or observed the transient relationships of their friends. A haunting muted trumpet with picked acoustic guitar accompanies Murphy's emotive and stark warning to her friend. This song is followed by a melancholy but uplifting declaration of love in "My church". Likewise in fact the opening track "Kiss like that", which is also an uplifting positive take on desire and transmits a wonderfully feminine view of physical attraction and captivation. "Fighting for strangers" is the one adaptation of a traditional song and has a current topicality in its plea of a woman to her love not to go off to war. a "leaving us girls to mourn in grief and sorrow", "what makes you go abroad fighting for strangers, when you could stay at home and free from danger". I am reminded of that great song from the Napoleonic era, "the Banks of the Nile"(Sandy Denny & Fortheringay) and the soldier's girlfriend's desperate pleas. A light, jazzy Pentangle feel once more with an aching sense of foreboding and longing in Murphy's delivery makes this a classic. Other stand out tracks are "Night Visit", "My Father" and the title track. This CD grows and grows on me and there isn't a bad track on it. Strongly recommended. Compellingly beautiful.'
L.Woolfe 'Mark & the Woolfeman' German radio review


According to BBC Radio 3's Late Junction presenter Verity Sharp, Julie's latest release will inevitably bring her and her music to a wider audience.

LILAC TREE (BEJOCD-38) is made up of nine new songs co-written by Murphy and guitarist Richard Llewellyn in a totally original idiom to create a contemporary acoustic classic.

Recorded and mixed live in 4 days in Pembrokeshire last September with double bass player Tim Harries, drummer Rowan Griffiths and trumpet player Tomos Williams the resulting session is totally electrifying.

In a move away from her peerless traditional singing, the lyrics to LILAC TREE are personal and committed, the catalyst for much of the songwriting being the death of her father in 1999, to whom the work is dedicated.

In cult terms Murphy has already built up an impressive range of fans, Robert Plant recently asked her to record a duet with him for the latest "Afro Celt Sound System" release and Eliza Carthy announced in Mojo magazine that Julie Murphy was her favourite singer in the whole world.

1. Kiss Like That
2. My Father Was
3. Lilac Tree
4. Leave Him
5. My Church
6. Train (Going West)
7. Fighting for Strangers
8. Fasting Girl
9. Night Visit
10. Cilgerran (Glory of Love)

Also by Julie Murphy Black Mountains Revisited

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