Murphey Packs Hotel Saloon

Michael Martin Murphey entertains at The Occidental. (Leslie Stratmoen Photo)
Michael Martin Murphey entertains at The Occidental. (Leslie Stratmoen Photo)

People packed into The Occidental Hotel saloon in Buffalo Sunday night to be up close and personal with a man whose songs they’ve been listening to since the 1960s.

Michael Martin Murphey did not disappoint. He can still soar like always on songs like “Wildfire” and yodel with the best of the cowboy crooners. Throughout the concert, he kept his fans, laughing, singing, and cheering him on for their favorites, like “What’s Forever For.”

That tune in particular, he said, is a love song that no-one really wanted at the time the song was written. It was the 1980s, he said, when record producers were turning away from performers like him and going with guys who had tattoos, wore spandex and jumped up and down when they played.

Well, he said, he didn’t have a tattoo, didn’t look good in spandex and wasn’t about to jump around with his Les Paul guitar because you could hurt yourself. So he turned to country music. But country execs wanted songs about drinking, divorce and depression. He couldn’t do that, either, he said, because he comes from a long line of love – parents and grandparents who’d spent more than fifty years together. So that’s how the song came about, with lyrics like “if love never lasts forever, then what’s forever for.”

He’s learned a lot about love over the years, he said, and always shares that wisdom with the young bucks. As the crowd listened intently, he said “I tell the boys there’s two things you want to know about a woman before you get married – Can she run a bobcat and drive a trailer?” So when his own boy planned to get married, he said, “Son, does she know what a manure spreader is?” “Yeah, Dad,” he said, ”I’ve told her all about you.”

The crowd loved his lead in and the song, and all the other personal tidbits he shared in the intimate venue, like how much he missed his Dad coming on gigs and his missed shots at fame, like turning down a chance to be one of televisions, The Monkees. The concert at the historic hotel was recorded as part of his next CD – a collection of live shows played in historic saloons across the west.

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