Crooked Wood is the singer/songwriter trio of Chris Murphy, Steve Kennedy and Jon McLurg. In January of 2004, Chris and Steve founded Crooked Wood. Although the long-time friends had performed together intermittently for several years, this marked the beginning of a full-time collaboration for the two musicians. They recorded a demo CD in May 2004, and a full-length debut album, Ta’-ble of Con-tents’, was released on August 13, 2005. Multi-talented singer/songwriter Jon McLurg joined the group in 2005. In July of 2005, Crooked Wood were invited to perform at the 2005 Mariposa Festival, where they shared the stage with fellow Mariposa performers, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Cochrane, Sarah Harmer, and David Francey.
In November 2004, the National Campus and Community Radio Association selected Crooked Wood as one of the top 100 Roots Artists in Canada. Their song Amelia was featured on the organization’s website (www.digyourroots.ca).
In addition to their original material, Crooked Wood utilize their excellent harmonies and folk sound to bring to new light favourite songs by artists such as Blue Rodeo, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, John Denver, CCR, Harry Chapin, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Stan Rogers, and many others.
Steve Kennedy fronted the band S.O.S. for 3 years, performing in such venues as the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Club (Kingston, ON), Grass Creek Park (Kingston, ON), Wycott’s Tavern (Harrowsmith, ON), 1000 Islands Yacht Club (Kingston, ON), and the Keystorm Pub (Brockville, ON). Steve also spent some scuffing up the stages of many theatres across Ontario, performing in musicals and dinner theatres (yes, that’s right-- he danced!). Some highlights of his theatrical past include playing the Festival of Lights (Peterborough, ON), and portraying Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors for Lindsay Summer Theatre.
While Steve’s acting days may be over, the void has been more than filled by fatherhood (diaper changes, bottles and tantrums are more akin to theatre than you might realize!) Along with his wife of 10 years, Steve’s a proud parent to Krystalin, Liam, Mairi and Julia. Therefore, if you hear any crying at a Crooked Wood gig, it’s okay—they’re with the band!
Chris Murphy got his musical start in the Kingston Exhibition Country Singing Showdown in 1997 and 1998, taking home the top prize in 1998. In 2001 he completed his music degree at Queen's university. Starting in 1999, Chris joined the Celtic group Shores of Newfoundland. Notable performances include: Festival Of The Islands (Gananoque, ON) and the Festival of Lights (Peterborough, ON), as well as numerous concert and pub performances across Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and New York State. In the 5 years that Chris played with the Shores, they released 3 CDs and shared the stage with such groups as The Irish Descendants, Leahy, The Fables, and The Barra MacNeils. In 2002, Chris released a solo album entitled Soliloquy. Chris now lives with his wife Heather in Inverary, Ontario.
Jon McLurg was born and raised in the hamlet of Latimer, Ontario, north of Kingston. Jon got his musical start as part of the gospel group "Cantus" with his sister Heather. Pretty soon Jon was performing on his own and writing songs. One of Jon's most notable solo musical experiences was being invited to play at the Mississippi John Hurt Festival in Teoc, Mississippi. In November of 2005 Jon released his debut CD All These Things. Jon joined Crooked Wood that same year and has become an integral part of the Crooked Wood sound.
Steve Kennedy: guitar, mandolin, bass
Chris Murphy: guitar, mandolin, bass, Irish bouzouki, banjo, bodhran, whistles
Jon McLurg: guitar, mandolin, bass, harmonica
Crooked Wood: Ta'-ble of Con-tents' (LP)
Cam Adhmad (LP) (traditional Irish/Celtic songs)
Jon McLurg: All These Things (LP)
The Auctioneer (LP)
Chris Murphy: Soliloquy (LP)
Follow the Star (LP) (Christmas songs)
Steve Kennedy: Consider the End (LP)
Jon McLurg & Chris Murphy:
Eyes Upon the Rail (LP) (Old-time country Gospel songs)
This Heart of Mine (LP) (Hank Williams tribute)
Crooked Wood Releases Ta'ble of Contents
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New CD Doesn't hide from its folk roots - Review by Jeff Green It’s now been over 40 years since ...New CD Doesn't hide from its folk roots - Review by Jeff Green
It’s now been over 40 years since the great folk music revival of the early 1960’s and the times have changed so much that many musicians and music festivals have abandoned the folk label in favour of roots and world beat. Undaunted, Steve Kennedy and Chris Murphy formed a folk duo, Crooked Wood, in early 2004 and have been performing and writing together ever since. On August 13 they will officially launch the first full-length Crooked Wood recording, Ta’ble of Contents.
Like the best of folk music, Ta’ble of Contents is built on thought-provoking lyrics, an acoustic guitar-based sound, and the blending of two voices.
Chris Murphy is known to music lovers in Frontenac County who are familiar with the Shores of Newfoundland, with whom he performed on a full time basis for five years, from 1999-2004. He also released a solo album, Soliloquy, in 2002,
Steve Kennedy fronted the band S.O.S for three years, and worked in dinner theatre with Ken Atkinson Musical Productions as well. He is also a teacher at St. James Catholic School in Sharbot Lake.
All of these experiences are brought to the performances in Ta’ble of Contents.
There are times when some of the inflections of Stan Rogers can be heard in Chris Murphy’s vocals on songs like Rhetoric and Rhyme, a song about self doubt, and on Amelia, about the disappeared aviatrix Amelia Earhardt.
There are personal songs on the recording, such as Content by Steve Kennedy and What People say by Chris Murphy. At other times, the duo becomes political, as in Kennedy’s Limestone City, which is a meditation on the death of Kingstonian Carl MacDonald in February of 2003, and the jointly written Grasping Hands, based on tragic stories involving young women.
Overall, Ta’ble of Contents represents a coming together of two committed songwriters and musicians who have decided to share their talent.
Ta’ble of Contents will not be officially released until August 13 at a release party in Kingston at the Italio-Canadian Club (1174 Italia Lane - off Montreal Street at the 401) but music from Ta’ble of Contents has already brought a higher profile for Crooked Wood. This past winter, Amelia was featured on the website, digyourroots.ca and was short listed for inclusion on the Dig Your Roots CD of top roots recordings in Canada. In March, Crooked Wood performed material from Ta’ble of Contents at the Mariposa Showcase in Orillia. They were then invited to perform at the Mariposa Festival last month, where they played two concerts to much acclaim.
For more information on Crooked Wood, visit their website.
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"Chris Murphy and Steve Kennedy have a great musical vibe going since they formed the Duo Crooked Wo..."Chris Murphy and Steve Kennedy have a great musical vibe going since they formed the Duo Crooked Wood. Jim Payne and I have had the great pleasure of working with the lads in Kingston. Each time we've shared the stage it's been a pleasure both to listen to and perform with the two lads. They are both fine song writers as well as being great singers and players.Check them out, you'll be glad you did!!"
Fergus O'Byrne, St. John's, Newfoundland
Finally Coming Home (Murphy)
Skipping Stone (Murphy)
Blue Pinstripes (McLurg)
Old Montreal (McLurg)
Someone Thinks of You (McLurg)
Molly of the Morning (McLurg)
Mouse & Man (Kennedy)
Pyjama Pot (Kennedy & McLurg)
Broken Wings (Kennedy)
Canadian Musician (Kennedy & Murphy)
Mr. Tanner (Chapin)
Piano Man (Joel)
Northwest Passage (Rogers)
Leave Her Johnny (trad.)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.