Red River Drifter
Red River Entertainment

In his first batch of new songs in far too long, Michael Martin Murphey not just returns to the Lone Star singer-songwriter form that launched his artistic journey, but also draws from all the musical points on his compass to reassert and in a way summarize his mastery. Collaborating with co-producers Ryan Murphey (his son) and guitar wiz Pat Flynn on the material, he rides high across a vivid Western landscape from the zesty, banjo-driven reel of “Peaceful Country” to the cinematic shower of melody in a “Mountain Storm,” his crackling, high lonesome tenor enriching it all with a sincere and never saccharine sweetness. The double if not triple entendre of “Faded Blues” is Murphey at his most alluring, he’s delightfully fun and cheeky trading vocals with Pauline Reese on the cowboy zen of “Shake It Off,” and proves himself yet again a gifted old-school musical sophisticate on the lovely delicacy of “Unfinished Symphony.” Red River Drifter is a welcome reminder that Murphey is a Texas musical icon who stands head and shoulders with this state’s finest talents. — ROB PATTERSON

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