Daniel Ward-Murphy
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Daniel Ward-Murphy

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"The Music Magazine review"

Remember what made Damien Rice’s debut album, O, such a delight? One man, his aching voice climbing out of the never-reaches of his soul, an acoustic guitar and some occasionally accompanying string and woodwind instruments all playing through some lovely songs. And then there was his mysterious, seemingly nameless female accomplice, whose beautiful voice provided harmonies and the odd lead vocal moment of her own. Daniel Ward-Murphy’s debut effortlessly combines all of these same elements and has a warming effect perfect for this chilly time of year.

What with every “What’s Hot 2009” list touting electronic pop artists as the ones to watch this year, Ward-Murphy could be considered a pleasant novelty indeed in his singer-songwriter mould. What makes him even more of a rarity is that he is a success-story of the Sell-A-Band internet phenomenon, a website allowing any unsigned artist to upload tracks in the hope that complete strangers from across the world will listen and like them enough to pledge real money in their direction. Once an artist has sold enough “shares”, usually $50,000 worth, the website owners supply them with a producer and a record is made. A far-fetched scheme it would seem, but one that evidently works for those that are talented enough and who know how to market themselves.

Ward-Murphy is an excellent vocalist able to strike a balance between warm delicacy and surging power. This is especially apparent on You Live Up In The Stars, the album’s strongest song. The first minute or so contains a prelude to the upcoming song, with his female sidekick, Jennifer Delaney, taking lead vocal responsibility for the time being, accompanied by melancholic strings. Eventually, Ward-Murphy returns with a tricky, punchy melody that is impeccably delivered, underpinned by crisp drumming and solo cello.

Hang on a minute – melancholic strings? Preludes? Warm delicacy? Surely this is just another soppy acoustic album that you would only buy as a last-minute gift for Mother’s Day? Not so. I certainly would not want to present my mother with an album that contains the lyric “tie you up and let me treat you mean”, as Ward-Murphy shows us his adventurous side on second track My Beautiful Predicament.

I have only one criticism of this debut album – it is a shade too long, clocking in at 46 minutes, despite containing the standard-issue eleven tracks. One of those tracks, The Genius Of Myra, lasts a full six minutes – too stretched for this slow, tender lament, however beautifully it is performed. However, it probably demonstrates the strength of the musicianship on display if I am reduced to pedantic remarks about Ward-Murphy’s timekeeping abilities – this truly is a very enjoyable record.
- Rob Northcott


"Music OMH"

Curious that an artist as based in traditional music values as Daniel Ward-Murphy has to resort to a very modern method of financing his debut album. Then again, in 2009 anything goes as artists stray down unconventional routes to make sure their voices are heard.
Ward-Murphy's album is a product of the Sellaband website, set up two ex-Sony BMG staffers and linked to Amazon, whereby new artists attract 'believers' to raise the $50,000 budget required to record an album.

All of which is a good back-story, but MySpace and its ilk have all helped propel countless talent-free artists into the mainstream. Inevitably, the question is whether Ward-Murphy is good enough to repay the faith of his believers.

Yes is the short answer. The involvement of veteran producer Tony Platt is one of many plus points on this project - independently released albums should not sound this good, with every nuance crystal clear and precise.

Ward-Murphy deals in classic singer-songwriter material but manages to steer clear of the dreaded James Blunt trap, courtesy of a winning singing voice and a melodic touch that is instinctive rather than contrived.

The artist who most readily springs to mind is Jackson Browne, with Ward-Murphy sharing the same eye for detail that allowed the SoCal native to steer clear of many of the traps that his contemporaries fell into.

Another comparison can be made to Gram Parsons, with Ward-Murphy's extensive use of female vocalist Jan Delaney throughout the album bringing to mind Gram's collaborations with Emmylou Harris. It's a winning combination, adding greater impact to songs such as The Sun Is In Your Eyes and In This Fair City on which Delaney takes a prominent role.

The album rarely strays from its prominently acoustic style, one that it settles into quite nicely following the poppy opening track She's A Knockout. The closing Act Of Defiance marks another rare foray into up-tempo territory.

Ward-Murphy's is ably backed throughout by his live band, with the basic set-up of guitar, drums and strings providing a suitable accompaniment to his confessional songwriting style. His vocal tone throughout is largely spot-on, albeit sounding slightly forced on the more upbeat tracks.

There is a fair chance that Ward-Murphy could achieve mainstream success on a par with Blunt and James Morrison. There are certainly a fair few tracks on Until The Morning Light that could appeal to the all-important female market that bought into those two artists. In reality, Ward-Smith's heart lies in songs such as The Genius Of Myra and My Beautiful Predicament, whose twisty melodies and oblique lyrics mark him out for cult status.
- Nic Oliver


"Music Entertainment Focus"

UK singer/songwriter Daniel Ward-Murphy funded his debut album through Sellaband.com. The website offers artists the opportunity to showcase their music and encourage fans to donate money and invest in them. Once they achieve their money goal, the artist then records an album using the money and sends a limited edition copy to all of the people that invested in the project. Ward-Murphy is one of the lucky people who reached his goal and Until The Morning Light is his debut album.

Until The Morning Light is a finely crafted and impressive debut for Ward-Murphy. The album's 11 tracks showcase an artist influenced by modern male singer/songwriters such as Tom McRae, Damien Rice and to a lesser extent James Blunt. Ward-Murphy uses the vocal harmonies of Jennifer Delaney to create a sound not unlike that created by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. The end result is emotionally charged, stripped down pop/folk songs that pack a punch. Current single The Queen Of Something New is one of the album's more upbeat tracks and takes Ward-Murphy into pop/rock territory.

Highlights on the set include the beautiful acoustic I Think I Made You Smile, the emotional Under The Wire and closing track Act Of Defiance. Over the course of the album Ward-Murphy showcases his versatility with upbeat, almost country-tinged songs (She's A Knockout), beautiful orchestration (The Sun Is In Your Eyes) and storytelling (Flame).

Until The Morning Light is a superb debut made even more remarkable by how it came into being. Ward-Murphy has a bright future in front of him and other budding singer/songwriters should take his example as inspiration to achieve their own dreams. Expect to hear more from this guy throughout 2009.
- unknown


"Indie London"

“If you like the style of artists such as Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, David Gray and, especially, Damien Rice, you’ll find plenty to be impressed with. Album opener She’s A Knockout is particularly good – boasting some impassioned lyrics, a nice set of boy-girl vocals with Delaney and an alluring combination of violin, cello and guitar. My Beautiful Predicament and I Think I Made You Smile maintain the quality – the latter, especially, coming across as beautifully melancholy. His rockier style is evident on the up-tempo The Queen Of Something New – a highlight – while Flame is one of the more instantly catchy, singalong efforts.”

“……..this is a strong debut LP that justifies the faith put in it by fans, and the hard work of Ward-Murphy and his team. Indeed, the biggest compliment we can probably pay him is that, based on the overall quality of the songs on this LP, why didn’t the record companies put more faith in him in the first place?”
- Jack Foley


Discography

'Until The Morning Light' - debut solo album.

'The Queen Of Something New' - debut single
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRQ3rZkgIIw

'She's A Knockout' - single released July 2009 - radio play at Radio 2 and other stations.

Album is available via Amazon, ITunes, Play.com etc and for streaming on Spotify.

Photos

Bio

Earlier this year, Daniel became the first UK solo artist to release an album via Sellaband.com. The album 'Until The Morning Light' was financed entirely by 1000 of his fans – each eager to pre-order copies of the album and get him into the studio with a $50,000 recording budget. The album was produced by the fantastic Tony Platt and has received great reviews and acclaim to date.

Daniel prides himself on maintaining personal contact with as many fans as possible and the live shows he and his superb band have played at venues in the UK and Holland have helped him to meet many of his supporters face to face, as well as winning over hoards of new ones every time they play. Daniel’s live shows are something very special indeed and show genuine performances from real musicians.

“I get up on stage in the first place because I believe in the songs. I am lucky to be surrounded with great musicians and I think we all enjoy listening to each other as we play. The enjoyment is infectious and it transmits itself to the crowd. It’s just a group of musicians having fun, playing some good songs and playing every gig like it is their last one.”

Praise for Daniel:
"an artist in splendid synchronicity with his band"
In The News

"...infectiously good songs..."
The Irish World

"'A superb debut....emotionally charged, stripped down pop/folk songs that pack a punch…..Ward-Murphy has a bright future in front of him….Expect to hear more from this guy…."
Entertainment Focus

"Daniel Ward-Murphy is forging his own path to success..."
Playmusic Pickup

“a very strong debut LP”
Indie London

"...an accomplished debut....Melodically strong and with enough of its own character to stand out from the pack..."
Bournemouth Daily Echo

"Ward-Murphy is an excellent vocalist able to strike a balance between warm delicacy and surging power."
The Music Magazine

www.danielwm.com