Alexi Murdoch has kind of stayed away from the “whole major label thing”. That being said, it’s not surprising that eight months after the release of his debut album “Time Without Consequence,” he’s hitting the road on an 18 date tour across the US, including a D.C. date February 11 at Rock and Roll Hotel. Unlike artists on a major label who tour extensively in support of their album releases, Murdoch did only a small tour of independent record shops to promote his album after it’s release.
That’s not to say the Glaswegian hasn’t earned a place in a major label’s roster. After his E.P. was championed by Nic Harcourt of KCRW in Los Angeles, his tunes could be heard on The O.C., Dawson’s Creek, and most notably featured in the much beloved Garden State, although the song, “Orange Sky,” was not on the hit soundtrack. But this seems to fit right in with Alexi’s personality. He prefers to fly below the radar, and would prefer a small room of devout fans to a stadium.
His music blends subtly crafted lyrics with a musical style that’s reminiscent of Nick Drake or early James Taylor. In an interview with The Hatchet, Alexi says he never drew inspiration from musicians because he never intended on being one. “I never really knew I wanted to do this until quite recently, I wasn’t one of those kids that had posters on my wall, dreaming of going out there with a guitar.” He dismisses the Nick Drake comparison, which he calls “oversimplified” and admits that he hadn’t heard Drake’s music until people started making the comparison with his own. But the remoteness from the superficiality of pop culture, both mentally and physically, as he grew up “way out in the boonies in Scotland” only enabled Alexi to set himself apart from other artists and bands in his music. On song like “All My Days,” the first song on his album and “Orange Sky,” his breakout single, the lyrics begin almost a minute into the song, and none of his songs fit the standard three-minute pop gem criteria.
His singing, along with the rhythm of his fingerpicking and the instrumentation allows for an album that you get lost in as you try to pick out the specific instruments. In the creation of the album, which he claims, “was the hardest thing” he ever had to do, Alexi chose to deviate once again from the norm. A look at the album cover reveals that not only did he sing and play guitar on the album, but also provides piano and tambourine tracks to the recording. “As far from formally trained as you can get,” Alexi manages to experiment with chords and sounds to create new, unique tones. The record was recorded in a live session with studio musicians rather than every bit and piece pasted together. “The main thing is the tape was rolling, and that’s what we got,” he says. This adds to the ethereal nature of the composition, and with the same musicians going out on tour with him, there is no reason why his live show shouldn’t be as spectacular.
With his show at New York City’s Mercury Lounge already sold out, it’s looking as though this tour will be a launch pad for the artist who has been admittedly and voluntarily under the radar. “This seems like the right time to get out and get started…I think this year is really going to be the year that I get this record out to people.”
Alexi Murdoch will be touring all through February, and will be playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel February 11th.
This article appeared in the February 8, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.