Lifelines

Author: 
Bob Murray

There is a compelling catch in Bob Murray's voice on his album Lifelines that holds the listener still the way Tom Waits and Bob Dylan can—like the pause before a fall, in this case into songs of surprising depth.

The uniqueness of Murray's voice coupled with lyrics exploring truths we can all feel and recognize brings each song on the album alive in a rare and remarkable way.

In the tradition of classic folk and blues, Murray's harmonica, guitar, and piano set a tone that excites the ear and leaves the senses wanting more, and the more comes in words, dreams and stories mined from the very personal riches of Murray's life. In a Dantesque manner, his songs explore the reaches of the psyche—the demons and the divine that live deep within. The celebration of this journey can be felt to the bone in his culminating track “The Meek Shall Inherit a Wolf.”

Few musicians possess Murray’s level of sincerity; his craft in expressing his personal journey without pretense refreshes and inspires. Lifelines is an album of courage and vulnerability that comes in close and stays close.

Murray has two more albums, Alligator Tears, recorded during a riveting live performance, and O Boss Man, a collaboration with keyboard and accordion master Jeremiah McLane. He is the author of A Chicken Hawk Goes Home: One Man's Journey Through Archetypal Dreamwork, and teaches Musicality: Vulnerability through Music at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork (www.northofeden.com) in Montpelier, Vermont, and in private practice.

"This second CD of mine is similar to the first in at least one respect—these songs are all deeply personal. As the title, lifelines, implies, these lyric lines are most definitely all about my life, my inner life. Yet if the first recording was all about pain and the requisite willingness to feel into its dark tunnel, then this new collection is arguably posited near the far end of that tunnel—a weary wanderer stretching out his long-cramped body, blinking in the almost-overpowering morning sun.

In Track #5, entitled Early Morning Stretch, the refrain is as follows:

Oh…look at what you’ve done to me, my friend
You’ve turned me all upside and down
I’m off to dreamland like a child by nine at night
And I’ve forgotten how to whine or even frown

Such is the current state of my being. And I have that man, my friend in the song, to thank for it. Because without Him (the animus, divine guide…fill in your own preferred moniker), I might never have found myself emerging from that dark tunnel. Pretty amazing, really! Were this not my life, my body that tingles with recognition of this, I would not have believed it possible.

So gratitude then, whole trainloads of it, is what I feel most often these days. And I hope you as listener can feel that pervasive undertone throughout all of these songs. I certainly do when I play them."

-Bob Murray

Lyrics for Lifelines

As I gaze into this mirror
See these lines that mark my face
They are the trenches of my war-zone
My embattled human space

All those nights that I have spent there
Closed my eyes but couldn’t sleep
And though I see now how I craved it
I just couldn’t even weep

And in those desperate darkest hours
With my cheek pressed against the mud
Well I’d have sworn the god of terror
Was about to swill my blood

But when I called out to the night air
When I stumbled to my knees
When I reached out there was someone
Who was there to hear my pleas

I know few things now for certain
Most days the sky it isn’t blue
But I can say that in my life I’ve had a taste
And I’ve known you

And all those existential questions
That shook and rattled in my head
Have mostly fallen onto deaf ears
But I’ve found the cure instead

Cause when I called out to the night air
When I stumbled to my knees
When I reached out there was someone
Who was there and heard my pleas

And so I’m grateful to that night air
Even to the terror I have felt
Cause in those deepest darkest moments
The devil’s grip began to melt

So as I turn back toward the mirror
And to these lines that etch my face
I can see now they’re the lifelines
That have led me to this place…

 

Bob Murray grew up in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and is a former professional hockey player, author and musician with two solo albums in distribution--Alligator Tears and Lifelines —both recorded live at the North of Eden Retreat Center in Lowell, Vermont. A third album is now available, this one a studio collaboration with keyboard and accordion master, Jeremiah McLane, entitled O Boss Man.