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John Murry's story is one of triumph over considerable adversity. He has been prone to self destruction through a troubled past, heavy substance misuse/consumption and many of the songs on 2012's "The Graceless Age" reflected this inner darkness and turmoil. When it comes to this new EP "Califorlornia" a couple of points need to be made.
As a starting point those wishing to move over to the Amazon US site will see that this excellent EP is more extended with the addition of three songs that should not be missed. These include a nice alternative slowed version of "California" one of the best songs on "Graceless Age". Another is a heavy Neil Young orientated slow blues guitar driven epic entitled "I Need You" with a vocal by Murry filled with ragged glory. The last additional track is the "The Murder of Dylan Hartsfield" a true tale of injustice surrounding the death of an Iraq veteran which must rank as one of the greatest tales of bitter hurt since Bob Dylan's "Hurricane". Murry's southern drawl and his role as narrator over police and other communications is the height of raw power.
Frankly having this EP without these 3 songs is sort of musical equivalent of missing a concert encore. That is not to downplay the general excellence of the main tracks. Opener "Golden Slippers" is a fine slice of alt country, while "Golden state" is an swampy blues track where Murry's previous antipathy to his adopted home of California hasn't mellowed, although you sense that the man will never find his ideal home. This is followed by a standout cover of Warren Zevon's trademark "Genius" where Murry almost commits a vocal exorcism to the lines "Albert Einstein was a ladies' man/While he was working on his universal plan/He was making out like Charlie Sheen/He was a genius" and largely remakes the song in his own image. Perhaps of all the songs present the more reflective "Timmy" would have best fitted on "Graceless Age". The song covers the death of Tim Mooney a former drummer and producer who was also the subject of a wonderful song by Mark Kozelek. It is heartfelt and moving, proving that John Murry is worth his wait in gold.
Consequently seek out the full EP of "Califorlornia" running as it does over 40 minutes and reflect that while it is a much more abrasive listen even than the astonishing "Graceless Age" it is a massively worthy addition to the work of the volatile Deep South brilliance of John Murry, a William Faulkner for our age.