Catherine Reynolds | Jun 22, 2017
When words fail Chris Murphy, music speaks.
Resting between shows in early June, the popular musician responds with self-deprecation when asked about himself.
A resident of Frontenac County and rising star in Canada, his lack of ego is a refreshing change to the notoriously bad behaviour of other artists. Small talk doesn’t come as easily to him as the words of 1,000 songs he has memorized.
“I consider myself an introvert,” admits the friendly singer/song writer from Sydenham. “Being on stage allows me to be a bit more gregarious and charismatic than in real life.”
Tall and strong, Chris’ musical talent was recognized early.
At 20 years old, he won the Country Singing Showdown in Kingston.
Almost two decades later, his summer is booked solid by early spring and he’s touring across Canada with some of the biggest names in Canadian music in front of celebrities, dignitaries and world leaders. He has performed for the Governor General of Canada at the National Arts Centre and plays with Sean McCann, formerly of the Great Big Sea, and Abby Stewart, an up-and-coming country music singer from Kingston.
At 39 years old, Chris seems happy with the numbers of his life. He plays in five bands, plays one-dozen instruments and expects to perform 150 shows this year.
“Music is something that has come naturally to me,” he says. “I love listening to music. I love playing it. It’s a form of expression. I’ve written songs that are an intimate form of expression. Even playing other people’s songs gives me a good feeling, trying to make them sound as good as I can.”
Armed with a love of music from his family and a degree in musical education from Queen’s University, Chris took a leap of faith and followed his dream to sing. It was a risk that paid off.
An experienced performer of Celtic and East Coast music, he has bookings from British Columbia to Newfoundland this year.
“I went to Newfoundland in 2000 and I just fell in love with the people, music, area, culture and food,” he says about his repeated performances there.
This summer, he estimates he will only be home for five days in August due to bookings around the country.
“I’ve always loved music. It’s sort of my passion,” he notes, when asked about his dreams. “Being able to do what you love is kind of the goal. One of the things I wanted to do was to travel the country and get paid to do so.”
Married for 13 years with two young daughters, Chris smiles when he talks about the good, the bad and the ugly side of show business.
“I often joke - I play for free, but I get paid for setting-up the sound equipment and lugging it around,” he said.
“I think a lot of people don’t understand what is involved in what we do,” he said about performing late into the night at bars where a performer is part of the atmosphere, or in the comfort of a concert hall where a performer is the main attraction.
Smiling as he recalls recent bar gigs, he notes, “There’s times you feel like a wall hanging or a fern. But often you know that going into a show.”
“Concert halls are the best performances for the soul,” he adds.
Often found playing sports when he’s not performing, Chris doesn’t stray far from his guitar in his spare time.
“When I’m not playing or being a dad, I enjoy sports,” he says about his pastime. “I would also consider playing music my fun. I do a lot of playing at home. It’s something I don’t get sick of.”
In recognition of Canada’s 150th birthday this year, Chris Murphy will be performing Canadian songs at Inverary United Church at 7 pm on June 25. This evening performance includes free parking, refreshments and freewill offering. Everyone welcome!