Small Invitations: Catching up with Trish Murphy
Trish Murphy's enjoying herself
By Jim Caligiuri, 10:06AM, Wed. Feb. 8, 2012
Trish Murphy takes part in a song swap with Robyn Ludwick and Ginger Leigh Thursday night at the Flamingo Cantina. I’m sure there are people who only know Murphy as part of the popular covers act Skyrocket, but a decade ago she was a much loved singer, songwriter, and band leader on her own. She hasn’t sung her own songs in public in what seems like a very long time.
What happened was that the making of her last disc, 2004’s critically-lauded Girls Get in Free, and its aftermath left her in dire straits, both financial and otherwise.
“That record was a really big undertaking to do alone, from a financial standpoint and every other standpoint as well,” she explains. “I had help with it, with marketing, promotion, and distribution. But it was like child support payments for seven years getting that record in the black. It eventually paid for itself, but it was a massive undertaking and I feel that I probably overextended myself in every direction.”
While some might scoff at Skyrocket, a group of high profile local musicians performing pop and rock hits from the Seventies and Eighties, Murphy continues to find it a creative and challenging exercise.
“If it wasn’t creatively interesting I think some of us would have lost interest by now,” she says. “We’ve used it as a craft building project. We’ve certainly built vocal skills and creative discipline skills that we might not have built or that certainly weren’t as challenging doing your own thing.”
The Houston native credits taking part in the recording sessions for Ludwick’s Out of These Blues, and Gurf Morlix who produced the disc, with getting her thinking about performing her own songs again.
“There’s something about the way Robyn writes that struck a chord in me,” relates Murphy. “It reminded me of some deep impulse that one has to say things lyrically, story wise.”
Scheduling conflicts are preventing the two women from a desired songwriting sit-down. So an invitation to both of them to join Leigh’s weekly guitar pull at the Flamingo was too good to pass up. Don’t expect any new songs just yet.
“There’s always an internal voice telling you that you should be writing. Or you go back and listen to something that you’ve done and you realize that you’ve done it once, you can do it again.
“I sang with Slaid Cleaves on one of his records and did a song on the Sara Hickman tribute that came out last year. Those things, just small invitations, have meant a lot to me.
“I think this is just a period in life where I’ve had to manage my energy. I’ve stayed on the side of enjoyment rather than feeling that I’ve overtaxed myself. That wasn’t something I could ever do when I was making records and touring.”