MICHAEL "BIG DOG" MURPHY • Born in 1950, the Big Dog was raised in the midst of the heat and fervor of a Southern Baptist environment, and he sings with all the emotion of an old time “tent revival” preacher. Michael cut his vocal teeth in the church his Grandmother had him attend... everytime the doors opened!  It was through this gospel singing that led Michael to appreciate and understand the feeling with which his fellow churchgoers sang. The emotion, passion and honesty expressed in their voices stuck with him. He can’t just sing quietly, instead, he belts out his songs with all the “gut-bucket” energy he can muster. His guitar playing reflects the same kind of fervent fire that you’ll find in his haunting, soulful vocals.

 

"But, whatever you call him, you have to call him a blues singer."

 

He is called the "Big Dog", because of his rather large stature, and his "gravelly, growling" voice. He's also known as the "Memphis Ghost", as his extremely light skin complexion, beneath stage lighting, teases the imagination to believe. But, whatever you call him, you have to call him a blues singer. He won't let you call him a "bluesman", even though he is no stranger to a life of hardship and pain, with the occasional instance of joy and laughter. "Bluesmen", he says, "are men like Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, B.B. King. They created the music. They blazed the trail. I just follow the path, love it, and play it."

The music is called, "Blues". What is it? Who knows? There are so many different styles and nuances within styles, that labeling blues these days is a very difficult thing to do. There's Chicago blues. St. Louis, Piedmont, and Delta blues. Texas blues. West coast, East coast and Country blues. Folk blues. Memphis blues. Blues rock. The list can go on and on.  But recently, one reviewer called the Big Dog's style, "Jam infused, rockin' blues."  

Big Dog shares his enthusiasm for the blues, and attempts to convey the idea that blues, as he says, "It's about life, Bro!" Regardless of the circumstance or situation of the subject or topic, no one is really above the blues. Everyone deals with it sooner or later, and his feeling is that there are lessons in the blues to benefit all who hear it, and try to understand it!

Suffice it to say, that the blues Michael plays, is a combined influence of all music to which he found himself drawn. Probably, for the sake of argument, his style could be called "MemCago" blues. As he is heavily influenced by that Memphis sound - Sun, Ardent, and of course Stax records, as well as that great Chicago sound - Chess, Alligator, and many more!

He grew up in a household listening to a wide variety of music, mostly Southern gospel and folk blues.  And when he could get away with it, his ears were tuned mainly to folk, rock and roll and blues!  He was no stranger to Elvis Presley, nor to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Band, Blue Cheer, Paul Butterfield, Hank Williams or the Beatles! As well, he listened to the LeFevre's, the Chuck Wagon Gang, Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold and the list goes on and on. But what helped shape his sound today, his main influences, were from a prime list of bluesmen, such as: Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, B.B. King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Lil Milton, Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, and Howlin' Wolf.Whether offering a fast, sizzling, deep-fried, foot stompin' song, or, as he calls'em, a "buckle polishin'" slow blues number, his style keeps you wanting to hear more and more. His fans lament that they find themselves having to leave the show when it’s over, still wanting more. But, one thing they all agree on. They always leave his performances feeling much better than when they came in. As Bruce Pratt, an East coast event promoter puts it, “The Big Dog gives you a twenty dollar show for a two dollar ticket!”

He is one of the finest blues singers around, and an excellent guitarist as well, with a guitar style that echoes his vocal style - raw, emotional, and honest.

 

He has the ability to transport you to a particular place in time, when he sings and plays. He captures your heart and soul, and takes you with him, to wherever, whatever and whoever he is singing about. You feel like you are there in every circumstance, every heart-break, every moment of rejoicing and laughter, every discovery of self. And, he does it with a boyish, honest, storytelling charm, within a craft honed through years and years of sitting in dark corners, walking on beer stained, peanut hull covered floors, and, befriending every stage on which he sat or stood.

He is just as at home in the blue glow of neon lit beer signs, as he is in the concert hall; and, is quite comfortable in the moving shadows given life by a small juke-joint’s lamps, swinging over an old, booze stained pool table. He calls every waitress “Darlin’”, and every bar-tender “Sir”. He is a product of a time when life was hard, and complicated only if you let it defeat you. His was a life lived making memories. He knows pain. He knows joy. He knows love and heartache. He knows defeat and victory.  He knows the blues.

Between Michael's original songs and the songs he and his band cover, but never copy, the audience is assured of a show that's always fresh, and exciting!  The audience is always in smiles as they watch the band interact with each other on stage.  The laughter between them, and emotion they show while performing, is what sets them apart from other bands, and presents them as true musicians and lovers of the blues!!  Come on out and catch a show.  See for yourself!  The Big Dog and the MOB are anxious to meet you!



For more updates and news, please visit and "LIKE" the Big Dog's MOB Facebook band page here:   MOB

 

Michael Murphy. The Big Dog. The Memphis Ghost. He is quite a character. He is a song.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Michael Murphy takes a different approach by delivering a mix of traditional with a twist of the unexpected.”

— Terry Alford Gage, CEO Gage Music

Murphy possesses a powerful growl in his voice, not unlike Tom Waits.”

— Steve Seymour, Delta Folks

If you stop in to see Michael Murphy and the "MOB" make sure you get a good seat because you won't leave till the music is done.”

— Melanie Demaskie, Talent Booking, Classic's Restaurant & Lounge, Shawano, WI.

All booking, press, and general business inquiries should be directed to:
Frank Seebantz of Frogwayz Productions
715-614-0731 • email: frogwayz2@yahoo.com