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L.A. Beat

James Murdoch records new concept album live

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Like it wasn’t enough work to write and record a concept album, former Lethbridge resident James Murdoch and Jay Sparrow decided to do just that — and record the whole thing live.  

“We sure bit off a lot, I hope we can chew it all,” said James Murdoch, who will be playing the Slice, Monday, June 18 with Mike Plume as part of their 10-day tour out  to Winnipeg and back.

James Murdoch returns  to Lethbridge with Jay Sparrow and  Mike Plume. Photo by Richard Amery
 Murdoch, whose mother runs the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, was in Nashville last year with Sparrow, which got them thinking about Canada.

“I’m from the Yukon originally and Jay is from Thunder Bay and we were researching the gold rush,” he continued.
 They discovered a character named Laverdiere, the son of a sixth generation Quebecois family.

“ They’ve been in Canada since the 1600s. He moved up to the Yukon during the gold rush in the 1800s and opened  up a silver mine there. I wondered why someone would do something like that,” he said adding that inspired the story of  the new CD “Dominion Day the Story of Madeleine and Laverdiere.” Being from the Yukon,  he has always been interested in the gold rush era.

 While researching it, they discovered Madeleine, who was involved with Laverdiere.
“I love concept albums and always wanted to do one. Most live albums are greatest hits albums,” he observed.

“ And just because it wasn’t enough  work, we decided to record the whole thing live in the Arden theatre in St. Albert, which was difficult because we only had one take but we had a great band playing behind us,” he said.

 They got an animator to design  a show behind them to display on a screen behind them. While they won’t be bringing the animation to the Lethbridge show, they will be playing the album in its entirety with the band backing them.
“Mike Plume is a friend of mine. We’ve written songs together. So we’ll be using some of the guys in his band and he’ll be using a couple of the guys in our band,” he said.
They wrote the entire album in 10 days.  They returned from Nashville a year ago and recorded the CD , Feb. 3, 2012

““It just really felt natural It was pretty easy. When you have a timeline and a story, it is pretty easy to see what part of the the story needs to be told and to fill in the blanks,” he said.
 He couldn’t pinpoint why he wanted to record the whole album live.

“We just wanted to capture the essence of the live show,” he said adding he is very happy with the end result.

“There are always things you hear that you want to change, that you could have changed if you recorded  in a  studio. But here we found they added character to it.”
 It is also more of a country CD than  Murdoch’s previous, more pop and folk inspired.
“It is a lot more country, but I’ve always listened to country music,” he said.

“I find if you put a pedal steel guitar on a song, it comes out sounding like a country song,” he continued.

 There is a five dollar cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m., Monday, June 18 at the Slice.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 June 2012 12:35 )  
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