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March/April 2013

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Shaun Murphy
Ask For The Moon
Vision Wall Records

Shaun Murphy

I recently had the opportunity to see Bob Seger play the Mile High city and spent some time hanging out with Shaun Murphy and some friends after the gig. While the Seger gig is a great one, there’s no doubt in my mind that Shaun Murphy was born to sing her first love, the Blues. Her new disc on Vision Wall records, Ask For the Moon, absolutely rocks and I’m impressed by Shaun’s vocals, the band and some great writing by Shaun, Bekka Bramlett, Marcy Levy and more. This disc is 15 excellent songs long, so let’s get to it.

We start off with a tune written by Jon Tiven, “Just Enough.” Shaun is definitely in love with the man in her life but is coming to the realization that what feels so good isn’t necessarily what’s right for her. “I’ve made up my mind…I can’t take no more…to find the strength, baby, to let you go…that’s when you come around…throw your love on me so strong…give me just enough…to keep my holding on!” Caught in the crossfire of her love for this man Shaun definitely needs to find a way to extinguish the flame and let him go.

Next up is a tune written by Marcy Levy, “Ugly Man,” and here is one of the real truisms in the life of a beautiful woman. “If I ever love again…Lord, let it be an ugly man…can’t be nothing sweeter than…the love of an ugly man!” An ugly man will love you through thick and thin while a good-looking man will treat you like arm candy and dump you in the blink of an eye." Here’s hoping Shaun finds her “ugly man!” An original tune, “Heartless Man Blues,” is up next. A heartless man walked into Shaun’s life, took her for everything of value and left her by the road. Burton Gaar, Jr. joins Shaun for a duet on this tune and provides the perfect foil for Shaun’s voice. “I paid with pain…and I paid with grief…like a cold, black darkness…over me!” Shaun had a rough go with this man and it’s a good thing she moved on.

Shawn Starski’s guitar kicks into high gear and Johnny Neel’s playing on the B-3 is featured next on the title track, “Ask for the Moon.” “No love lasts forever…and when your heart is breaking…might as well ask for the moon.” There’s nothing to be lost by daring greatly for the things that matter in your life….”you’ll never know if you can fly…unless you ask for the moon!” A beautiful tune about loss and a love that might be so go ahead…ask for the moon!

One of Bekka’s tunes, “Let’s Talk About Love,” is next and Bekka joins Shaun on this tune in a duet that finds them both reflecting about this crazy world we live in and the need for love. “Talk about a rain for days…talk about a world in pain…can we turn it off a minute…let’s just for a minute, please…can we talk about love?” Way too often we let the externalities of the world influence our lives when what’s most important is right here at home…so for a minute…can we talk about love? Love this tune, it’s one of five Bekka wrote for Shaun’s disc. “I hope you get what you want…I hope you get what you need…now that you’ve found a new love…won’t you forget about me…please!” In “Forget About Me” we find Shaun admonishing an old love to move on. Letting go can be very hard sometimes but he’s found a new love and Shaun needs her freedom, too.

Up next is a beautiful ballad, “When It Rains”, and we find Shaun reflecting on an argument she had with her lover last night. The love in her life is important to her and she’s grateful that he didn’t walk out. “I love it rains…on nights when you need it the most…and we all got our seeds to sow…and we all got our gardens to grow!” The rain provides a welcome respite for Shaun to stop and reflect on what’s most important to her and the love in her life is definitely at the top of the list. We move on to a tune written by Burton Gaar, “Mighty Long Road.” Shaun’s life has been hard and she’s thinking on ways to lighten the load. Jim Horn’s sax makes its appearance here and does a nice job of lightening the mood. “Well…I’ve seen the Promised Land…but I can’t afford to stay…you know my piece of the rock…just up and rolled away!” Shaun can see it, she can taste it, it’s almost within her grasp but it’s just a half an arm’s length away. Here’s hoping she can close the gap and lighten what has been a heavy load.

Next we find that an affair with a married man has complicated Shaun’s life in “Go Home.” “Go home…go on home to your wife…go on home and waste the rest of…your lonely, loveless life!” Shaun’s a woman scorned, and he just needs to go on home and get the hell out of the way. Sounds like the fuse burned hot with this one.

“Chained” is just another great tune on a disc full of them and this one was written by Laura Creamer. Something has become of Shaun and her lover, something that he’s not sharing with her. “I can’t sleep at night…sit and wonder why…you’re not here in my world…but I feel….chained!” Shaun could handle whatever it is that’s bothering him but he just won’t step up and tell her what it is. Sometimes that’s all you get and it just isn’t fair.

More keyboard work by Johnny Neel provides the intro to “It’s My Own Tears,” the next tune up. Here we find Shaun admonishing the woman competing for her man to appreciate him, because she definitely does. “He stayed round…all night long…don’t say nothing bout you…because, it’s me he’s doing wrong…I love him…and I will til the day I die…and it’s my tears that are falling…so people, let me cry!” Sad to hear that Shaun lost a man she obviously loved but she’s better off to let this one go. This theme of pain continues in our next cut, “Why You Hurt Me So Bad”. “Smile at me…strike me down…oh, I can’t do right when you’re around…oh your hurt me so bad, papa!” We’ll never know why he did but obviously Shaun is alone with the pain her feels over this man.

Ask For the Moon closes with three more tunes: “Big Wheels,” What’s In it For Me” and “Get Away.” In “Big Wheels” we find Shaun again wanting some consideration from the man in her life, she wants to know what he’s feeling. “It’s alright…go on and try…just tell me what’s on your mind…I’ll be waiting on the other side…why don’t you stay…stop running away!” Our theme of love gone badly continues in “What’s In It For Me.” “You can’t just come around…and have it both ways…not me…you’ve been a river of fear…and an ocean of take…for heaven’s sake…you say you want to work it out…well tell me…what’s in it for me?” Our final cut, “Get Away,” finds Shaun at odds with herself over another bad man in her life. “If I wasn’t such a fool…I’d make you…get away from me!” Stay strong, Shaun, and let this player go.

Ask For the Moon will be in my top ten at the end of the year. Shaun is a phenomenal singer and she’s surrounded herself with a wealth of talent in putting this record together. The band is outstanding, the writing exemplary and Shaun’s vocals are over the top. I’m hoping the road will be good to Shaun this summer because her show will leave you wanting more. Her schedule and the opportunity to buy a copy of this outstanding disc can be found on her website, Kudos to Shaun for an amazing disc!

--- Kyle Deibler


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