Michael Martin Murphey returns to his singing cowboy roots to tell riveting human stories of love and hate, sin and redemption, loss and risk, failure and victory, revenge and forgiveness and family legacy. Murphey celebrates the western lifestyle so well-dramatized by the passionate struggles of the grazing land cultures of the world who literally live and die by managing land and water.
There will be an opening set with Socorro's own Doug Figgs & the Cowboy Way [see bio at bottom of this page]
In the early 1970s, Rolling Stone Magazine called Michael Martin Murphey “one of the best songwriters in America.” Since that time, Murphey has left an indelible mark on the American Music Landscape crafting and recording such iconic hits as “Wildfire,” “Carolina In The Pines”, “Geronimo’s Cadillac”, “Cowboy Logic,” “Cherokee Fiddle”, “Boy From The Country” and more. In the process, he has topped the Pop, Country, Bluegrass and Western Music charts, earned six gold albums and multiple Grammy nominations.
Through all the chart-‐jumping and genre-‐busting, Murphey has remained constant to an honest, sophisticated approach to his songwriting. In fact, it’s simply impossible to pigeon-‐hole Murphey to one specific genre. He is no more country than rock, no more bluegrass than classical. He is, rather, a true AMERICAN songwriter.
A native Texan, Murphey’s songs have always reflected his lifestyle, and are understandably seen through a Western lens, often built on outdoor themes with the sensibilities of his cowboy lifestyle.
At the core of his music is a stubborn determination to be the best songwriter he can be, a focus that has led to his songs being covered by such artists as Lyle Lovett, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Hoyt Axton, Cher, Manfred Mann, The Monkees and more.
“I spend a lot of time on the road listening to all kinds of music,” he says. “I grew up in Texas, the world’s number one musical crossroads where anything goes musically. Texas has produced great artists from every genre.
“You can wake up and say ‘today, I think I’ll write a symphony’ and you can find an audience for it there. The same can be said about any genre in music. Texans love music. They enjoy opera and they enjoy bluegrass. I am a product of that, and I am the Number One fan of all types of music.”
It is an approach that has worked well for Murphey. According to BMI, Murphey has 5 million-‐performance songs — “Wildfire” (3.9 million), “Cherokee Fiddle” (1.92 million), “Carolina In The Pines” (1.65 million), “Talking To The Wrong Man” (1.21 million), “Still Takin’ Chances” (1.2) — and a total of 11 award-‐winning BMI songs (6 in Country and 5 in Pop). Also, according to BMI, repeat, back to back performances of his award winning songs alone, with each song averaging 3 minutes each, would amount to 64 years of continuous airplay.
“It may sound like an oxymoron, but ‘Cowboy Culture’ is real and relevant,” Murphey says. “I celebrate men and women who love Dirt, Grass and Water.
“Truth is, cowboys and cowgirls can save the planet.”
“Michael is more than an award-winning country western singer-songwriter,” said Crow. “He is also an avid steward of the culture and landscape of the American West. We have a mutual interest in protecting the environment for future generations.” Murphey has been a long-time activist and outspoken supporter of caring for land and water.
About the Album: High Stakes
On his new album, High Stakes: Cowboy Songs VII, Iconic Western Artist Michael Martin Murphey pleads on the stunningly beautiful Australian cowboy song, Campfire On The Road” “We must never let ’em take this life away / Old stock routes belong to one and all / Drovers, dreamers all agree / Poets, Aborigines / We have a right to light a campfire on the road.”
The lyric underscores the dramatic tone of Murphey's return to his Texas-cowboy
roots at a time when we are facing the rapid deterioration of our crowded world's most precious resources: Land and Water.
"This generation of the human family is witnessing the emergence of their home
as a desert planet," says Murphey, a passionate lifelong rancher-poet. "Two-thirds of the Earth's land surface is grassland plain. Eighty percent of its soil is dying. This is due to a lack of grazing animals — cattle, sheep, buffalo, deer, elk, goats, even free-range chickens and pigs. We need vastly more split-hooved grazing animals that turn up the soil — managed by the world's stockmen and stockwomen — to replicate the rotational-grazing habits of wild herds to restore grasslands for the creatures and life-forms that thrive there.
"As we develop cities and urban sprawl, we run off animals that cannot be replaced by technology," he continued. "You can't eat computer chips."
Best known for a genre busting career that includes topping the Pop, Country, Bluegrass and Western Music charts, the timing of High Stakes is particularly significant as the album release day falls on Earth Day (April 22).
Murphey has been a long-time activist and outspoken supporter of caring for land and water. He was inspired by the work of noted Zimbabwean Ecologist, Dr. Alan Savory, who was a consultant to his ranching partnership with Holistic Grazing pioneer Bert Madera of Jal, New Mexico.
"Grasslands sequester carbon," Murphey explains. "Too much carbon in the atmosphere instead of the grass and soil is the real cause of climate change. Ranchers around the world are fighting leaving ground bare and managed grazing is a key way to do that.
"Real environmentalists are the men and women who spend their days working the land responsibly to ensure its health for generations to come."
Murphey returns to his singing cowboy roots on High Stakes to tell riveting human stories of love and hate, sin and redemption, loss and risk, failure and victory, revenge and forgiveness and family legacy.
From the rollicking notes of the title track "High Stakes," to the final notes of the lovely "The End of the Road," Murphey celebrates the Western lifestyle so well-dramatized by the passionate struggles of the grazing land cultures of the world who literally live and die by managing land and water.
Among the highlights are his take on John Williamson's "Three Sons," and "Campfire on the Road," Roger Creager's "I've Got The Guns," and Marty Robbins' standards "Running Gun" and "Master's Call." The wonderful "Emilia Farewell" and "The End Of The Road" — both written with son, Ryan Murphey —are gorgeous traditional cowboy songs. On the title track, also written with Ryan and third collaborator Pauline Reese, Murphey explains there is an urgency to his message: "You don't understand the cards you're holding and your hands start to shake /
"Few people are dedicated to preserving the heritage and beauty of the
American West quite like cowboy singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey.
Through his music he tells the stories and romance of the Native Americans,
cowboys, horsemen, ranchers, outlaws, and lawmen. But Murphey has
gone beyond storytelling through active involvement in the conservation of
the relics and landscape that define his most treasured region."
— Jennings Brown / Cowboys & Indians
"In the past two decades, no musical artist has done more to chronicle,
preserve and further the cowboy culture than Michael Martin Murphey. His
music overflows with life, enough for many of us. To saddle up with Murph is
to come in closer touch with enduring truths."
— Dave McGee / thebluegrassspecial.com
"Murphey has spent decades raising horses and cattle in the Southwest
and Midwest, and he has spearheaded the Western music revival since
releasing Cowboy Songs in 1990. He's the real deal."
— Kevin Allen / Texas Music
"Michael Martin Murphey is a passionate advocate for the American West. He's introduced thousands of people to its natural beauty via trail rides, festivals and concerts. His music celebrate the people and places that make it grand."
— Tom Wilmes / American Cowboy
A Western music trio combining the talents of Jim Jones, Doug Figgs, and Mariam Funke. Both Jim and Doug are multiple award winning singer/songwriters (Mariam co-writing on many of their songs) and Mariam is the master musician that ties it all together. We hope you'll join us as we "Race With the Wind".
Doug Figgs is a horseshoer, a cowboy, and a Western music singer/songwriter. In the last few years he has turned his attention to his love of music with the emphasis on Western themes. The Western Music Association just named him the 2015 Songwriter of the Year and his song “Socios” was named WMA Song of the Year. He also won the Academy of Western Artists 2015 Western Male Vocalist of the Year and the coveted Spur Award for Best Western Song from the Western Writers of America in 2014 “Charlie & Evangeline.” He has toured the Southwest extensively and continues to turn out his own variety of Western music, from hard driving songs with a tinge of southern rock, to beautiful ballads and everything in between. Doug released his CD “Partners” in 2014 and his award winning CD “A Cowboy Like Me” in Feb. 2016.
Jim Jones is a native Texan, a student of the West and a life-long devotee of all things cowboy. His award-winning songwriting, guitar-picking and unique vocal style keeps him in demand at music venues throughout the country. Jim has produced eight Western Americana albums and three award-winning children’s character education videos. He has written three Western novels, Rustler’s Moon, (2009); Colorado Moon, (2011) and Waning Moon, (2013). His eighth Western Americana album, Borrowed Time, released in April of 2012, produced Western Writers of America 2013 Spur Award winning Western Song of the Year, “Texas is Burnin’” and 2014 Western Writers Spur Finalist for Western Song of the Year, “Race with the Wind”. His song, “Cowboys of New Mexico,” was the New Mexico Music Awards 2009 Western Song of the Year. Jim was named the Western Music Association Male Performer of the Year for 2014 and won the Academy of Western Artists 2015 Western Song of the Year with “The Fires of Goliad”. In 2017 "Halfway Down the Devil's Road" ( written by Jim Jones and Allan Chapman) from "The Cowboy Way" CD won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best Western song.
Mariam, a native of Germany, jokingly states: “I always felt I was accidentally switched at birth and grew up in a strange land far, far away, where there were no roaming cattle, no wide open spaces, no singing cowboys.” Making the best of his “dis-location”, Mariam cut his musical teeth on a wide variety of musical styles, from Classical, Jazz and Pop to Rock, Country and Blues. He enjoyed a colorful career as a multi-instrumentalist, at home on stage as well as in the recording studio. He gained a reputation as a diverse session player, award-winning arranger and producer. When his travels brought him to New Mexico, he felt he’d finally returned to his true home land. Realizing how much he loved horseback ridin’, backporch pickin’ and two-steppin’ on Saturday nights, he quickly caught on to the cowboy way. Currently calling Socorro, New Mexico home, Mariam is a private music teacher, collaborator on Doug Figgs’ projects and provides the lead guitar and 3rd harmony vocal for The Cowboy Way.