For Austin's Trish Murphy it's been a stormy ride between records. But sometimes the pain makes you stronger and that is certainly the case with her splendid new release, Girls Get In Free. With a new found confidence, Murphy unleashes ten new songs filled with passion and charm as well as a tantalizing and rowdy duet with Austin heart throb Bob Schneider on Lyle Lovett's "Cowboy Man."
The Austin Chronicle has summed up the album and Trish's talents best: "A striking tableau of empowerment, whimsicality, and longing set to rich, rootsy textures, Girls firmly secures Murphy's place in the upper echelon of Austin singer-songwriters." And it's the songs on Girls Get In Free that are the real stars. From the first notes of the jangly set opener "All I Want" to the defiant "The Trouble With Trouble" to the impassioned country rocker "Crying As Fast As I Can" to the bittersweet atmospheric "I Don't Want To Believe," this is easily Trish's best work to date.
"When I went into the production of Girls Get In Free," Murphy explains, "I knew what I wanted and I knew exactly who I wanted to work with. I had reached a level of confidence and power where I no longer second-guessed myself about which decisions were best for me."
Murphy has been a musician most of her life. A Houston native, her father, a struggling musician and songwriter, taught his three children to sing background harmonies for him when they were preschoolers. Although he eventually had to take jobs in construction to make a living, the family kept its bohemian values. While she was working her way through school, her dad encouraged her to get gigs to support herself, rather than pursue the proverbial something-to-fall-back-on. After receiving a BA in philosophy, she decided to fall back on music full-time. She formed a duo with her younger brother and Trish & Darin became one of the biggest-drawing acts in Houston for several years in the early 1990's.
In 1996, she moved to Austin to nurture a solo career and became one of the fastest rising musical stars in Texas. Her discography now includes three solo albums, two of which she recorded and released on her own label. Crooked Mile was released independently in April 1997 to widespreadTrishimagestree.jpg (9129 bytes) critical raves. National distribution soon followed, along with constant touring throughout the U.S. and Europe. Tour highlights included a week with Lilith Fair and appearances on Mountain Stage and World Cafe. Her follow-up CD, Rubies on the Lawn (Doolittle/Mercury 1999), garnered national press, mainstream radio airplay and more international touring, including a return to the Lilith Fair in its final season. Captured, independently released in late 2001, found Trish returning to her Texas roots in a stripped-down, live acoustic setting, doing what she does best: telling stories and shooting from the hip.
After Captured, she reached a point where she wasn't sure she had another album in her. Three years ago, the newly divorced Murphy learned her parents were likewise splitting up after 40 years of marriage. Deeply affected by these events, she took a sabbatical, which lasted a year and a half. Eventually Trish came back to songwriting and performing. The personal growth and renewed self-confidence are quickly evidenced on Girls Get In Free.
Equally important to Murphy is her work as a volunteer board member of GenAustin, a non-profit outreach program that helps middle school-aged girls develop strong self-esteem. "In a way," she explains, "it ties in with the concept of ‘girls get in free.' They establish big sister, little sister programs to teach girls moral integrity at time in their lives when things change seemingly overnight." Murphy's dedication to the program is so deep seated that the CD release party for Girls Get In Free was a benefit for GenAustin.
-- Jim Caligiuri