Alex McMurray

Alex McMurray

If it hadn’t been for a ringing endorsement from the Burning Wood blog’s Sal Nunziato I would never have heard of Alex McMurray and Hughesy’siTunes experience would have been the poorer as a result. Having obtained everything that’s available through iTunes there’ll be a change to the Standard Operating Procedure and hard copies of the remaining titles in the discography below once I’ve finished digesting what I’ve already got. Seriously, he’s that good…

One suspects McMurray isn’t a household name outside his adopted home town of New Orleans and may not be that well known outside the Crescent City cognoscenti, but then he’s probably busy keeping his head above water in a music scene where you have to be good to survive. Even if you are, playing music doesn’t always make enough to get by on, which I guess explains stints as a dishwasher, ditch digger, primary school substitute teacher and half of 2001 singing sea shanties at Tokyo Disney, an experience that apparently scarred him for life if How to Be a Cannonball ‘s The Barber of Shibuya and Ballad of Cap'n Sandy are any indication. He’s also made pizzas along the way.

Musically, apart from a couple of solo albums (Banjaxed and How to be a Cannonball, both available at iTunes) he’s also eked out an existence playing with jazz-rock outfit Royal Fingerbowl, sea shanty specialists the Valparaiso Men's Chorus, guitar-washboard-sousaphone trio, Tin Men, and a Jamaican-styled outfit called 007 that draws personnel from the ranks of G. Love and Special Sauce, the Iguanas and the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars. He also appears with Ingrid Lucia, Paul Sanchez's Rolling Roadshow, the Happy Talk Band, Schatzy, the Geraniums, the Jackals, the Geraniums, Matt Perrine's Sunflower City, The Mirlitones, a folk duo called The Tom Paines and helps organise the Jazz Fest season fringe music festival Chaz Fest.

Those details, by the way, are included as a means to help the author track down some McMurray collaborations. Once we’ve caught up with the titles listed below, of course...


© Ian Hughes 2012