Inquiring Minds

Michael Martin Murphey: "I Was Always Proud of Texas"

Michael Martin Murphey will not get off the phone. The Texas singer-songwriter, arguably America's foremost ambassador and scholar of traditional cowboy ballads and trail songs, is the kind of person who has answered two or three other questions by the time his interviewer is ready to ask another one.

Murphey was about to play a festival in Arlington (Texas) when Rocks Off talked to him last week, still very much active four decades into a career that brings him to the Firehouse Saloon this evening. It includes the hit 1990 album Cowboy Songs -- real Western-style country music's last stand in Nashville, to hear many people tell it.

But he also wrote the Monkees' hit "What Am I Doing Hanging Around?" (fellow Texan Mike Nesmith is an old buddy of his) and also had a front-row seat at the birth of the "cosmic cowboy" revolution in Austin in the early '70s, a movement that "Murph" probably had as much to do with as anyone else, thanks to his 1972 album Geronimo's Cadillac.

And that's just scratching the surface.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray