Review: Michael Martin Murphey "Buckaroo Blue Grass II - Riding Song"

Michael Martin Murphey's hit album "Cowboy Songs" redefined cowboy country. Twenty years later, 2010's "Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song" proves that this cowboy's music is as relevant and vital as any country music album released in the last year.
Coming off a recent Grammy nomination (Bluegrass Album Of The Year) for "Buckaroo Blue Grass," Murphey's second volume has even surpassed the high standard of excellence set by the first. The album begins with the terrific title track "Blue Sky Riding Song" which is an ambitious amalgamation of bluegrass, cowboy country and traditional country that works on all levels.

"Running Gun," "Medicine Man" and "Rollin' Nowhere" continue the excellent bluegrass sound. Likewise, Murphey's traditional country roots shine on the laid-back "Backslider's Wine" which has a unique alt-country meets traditional country vibe reminiscent of the best work of Hayes Carll.

The quiet "Southwestern Pilgramage" (written by Murphey) offers superb lyrics and a nuanced vocal performance with beautiful instrumentation. "Southwestern Pilgrimage" is a towering achievement that allows the listener to step back in time and reflect on the best moments of life. Radio program directors should take special notice. "Swans Against The Sun" and "Desert Rat" offer many of the same quality traits of "Southwestern Pilgramage."

The best pure bluegrass tune is the amazing "Running Blood," which offers high energy and passion by the bucketload. But the favorite song of many fans might be the reflective (and humorous) "Cosmic Cowboy." Murphey's lyrics offer a little Brad Paisley-esque fun. For pure instrumentation, "Renegade" can't be beat, and "Wildfire" never fails to please.

Michael Martin Murphey is a unique country star, because he has the passion, vision and work ethic of the men and women who made traditional country music great. On the cover of the album "Buckaroo Blue Grass II: Riding Song" Murphey appears to be a happy man - content with his life and nature. And after hearing his wonderful new album, you'll want to head for the ranch, too.