Friday Allstage Band Highlight: Chris Murphy
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Chris when we were on the original London Music Task Force Committee back in 2014. I knew of Chris but we had not really introduced ourselves to each other until those sessions begun and it was Chris who came over and introduced himself to me first.
Chris was very friendly and engaging, and instantly made you feel that you had known him for decades as he put out his hand and gave me a firm handshake with that legendary smile on his face.
I am very proud to have the privege of calling Chris my friend and have always enjoyed talking over the phone or speaking in person to him as his sincere character and positive attitude toward life is infectious.
Having seeing him play live numerous times at many different events, his passion for music is a force of nature and his skill at what he does is that to be admired.
No matter what age you are or what genre you favor – do yourself a special treat and go see Chris live, you will enjoy every minute of it – and take a moment to introduce yourself to avail yourself of his personality – you will walk away feeling better about yourself as well due to meeting him.
For those that don’t know of this excellent local musician, let me fill you in.
Chris is based in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Musician, Entertainer, Educator, Saxophonist, Vocalist and Arranger. He has been fronting his own band since 1985 and has also toured with two time Juno award winner Jack de Keyzerand as well as American blues artists: Chicago Pete and Alberta Adams.
Chris has released seven recordings as a band leader. His songs have been played on CBC, Smooth Jazz and College radio stations. Chris was awarded the JackRichardson Award for Music in 2008 and 2011. He has been nominated twelve times for the Maple Blues Award for Horn Player of the Year. He is also a member of the Canadian All Star Ensemble the Maple Blues as well as the Chris Murphy Band and the Village Blues Band that have been performing at the Wortley Roadhouse on Sunday afternoons since Jan 2005.
Chris is also the leader of the Firehall All Stars, an eight piece group of blues veterans that performs at blues festivals and special events.
In 2008 after more than 30 years as a fulltime professional musician, Chris started his second career as a music educator. He teaches instrumental music part- time at Matthew Hall Private elementary school.
From 1992 - 1998, Chris was the leader and front-man with the house band at the Old Chicago Speakeasy and Grill.The band performed three shows a night, five nights a week for more than six years. They recorded 2 CD's and were featured on their own TV show "Speakeasy Blues" for Rogers Cable TV. Chris left the nightclub to become the musical director for American Blues Artist Chicago Pete. He spent three years touring in the United States and Canada performing at some of the best festivals including: The Montreal, Detroit and Halifax Jazz Festivals.
Some of Chris’s career achievements:
2010 and 2008 Winner of the Jack Richardson Music Award for Blues
1999 - 2011 11X's in 12 years, Nominated for the Maple Blues Award for Horn Player of the Year
2003 - 2008 Touring and Recording with two time Juno Winner Jack DeKeyzer
2005 - 2011 Touring with "Chris Murphy's Blues in the Elementary Schools" a sixty minute show best described as EDUTAINMENT. The show has been performed at more than 100 elementary schools in Ontario.
2003 First recipient of the Lifetime of Blues Award from the Labatts Firehall Reunion and the London Blues Community.
2004 Released 2nd CD "I'm a Happy Guy", produced by the legendary Jack Richardson (Order of Canada)
Member of the Maple Blues Revue since 2001 (11 piece Canadain All Star Blues Band )
Leader of the Local Horn Section for: Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Temptations, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Mary Wilson & the Supremes, Grease, Fabian, Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon.
Bandleader and Musical Director for Chicago Pete, 1998 - 2000, more than 150 shows in Canada & U.S.A. including: the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Leader of The Old Chicago Blues Band, five nights a week from 1992-1998. The group perfromed with more than 50 guest artists and released two CD’s.
Leader of the Uptown Blooze Band, 1985-1992, the band was successful on the college circuit and released a recording “Here Come the Blues”
Co-host of radio show “The Blues Never Die”, on CHRW FM 94.7 weekly 1996 - 2005.
Host and Emcee of “Speakeasy Blues” on Rogers Cable TV (19 shows) in 1996.
Gigs with: Alberta Adams (Detroit's Queen of the Blues), R.J. Spangler (Detroit), London Blues All Stars, Roxanne Potvin, Soul Sausage, Maria Auregema (Buffalo), Rod Nickson (Buffalo), Lance Anderson's Tribute to The Last Waltz, Denise Pelley, Dawn Tyler Watson, Douglas Watson, Phil Murphy Big Band
Guest spots as a vocalist include: Mojo Willie and Bluesafire in St Catherines, Liquid Lounge All Stars in Brantford, Gary Kendall Band in Toronto, Brent Minet Band in Buffalo, R J's Rhythm Rockers in Detroit, The Odyssey Blues Band in Port Dalhousie, James Anthony Band in Burlington.
Recordings with Jack DeKeyzer, Chicago Pete, McAuley, Gary Kendall, Little Bobby, James Anthony, Forest City Jazz Band, Big Gilson (Brazil). Maple Blues Revue
Appeared in the films Talk to Me and Martin and Lewis
Speaking and Musical roles in plays: Grease, Rat Pack.
Emcee at various charity events
Talent Co-Ordinator Jazz and Blues Festivals including: Quai du Vin Winery (Red, White and Blues Festival), Goderich (West Coast Blues Festival), Grand Bend, Chatham
Night Club Talent Co-Ordinator: Boomers, Downtown Kathy Brown's, Old Chicago Speakeasy and Grill