Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

Voice the official Citizen Wausau blog

Your Voice: Another Year Older

by on April 7th, 2008

[A Note from Dino: This week, we look to Mike Murphy from the Citizen Wausau community. Mike is clearly a blues legend in Wisconsin, having slugged it out for many years with little or no acclaim. He has been playing the blues longer than I have been alive, and has been doing a good job of it around the state. We are thankful that he joined the Citizen Wausau community, and hope that he blogs about his shows, and maybe adds some cool photos as well. Thank you all for submitting.]
Last Saturday, was April 5th and my 58th birthday. It was a BLAST!!! The band and me played at St. James, a small martini lounge in Darboy, WI (one of three by that name in the state!) I had some old friends stop by and play, and had the extreme pleasure to work with keyboardist extraordinaire – Larry “3rd Degree” Byrne. With “Smilin’” Chad Wirl on drums and Rick “Smokey” Smith on bass, my old friend “Jelly Roll” Roy on harmonica, and Larry on keys, what an awesome band line up and an equally awesome birthday party!

Karen, my lady love, supplied 5 dozen cupcakes, so the folks in the club could have some cake too! Gary, club owner, even bought a round of “something” for the house, and toasted my birthday. With Gary and Tobi behind the bar, and all my friends and relatives just jookin away, it was a great night. And, I have have to say a special thanks to Sandeeb for the gift card to that very cool area restaurant – me and Karen will certainly put that to good use!!!

You know, there is one thing while I was growing up, that I never had enough of – birthday parties. And, it may seem awfully childish of me to look forward to them, but, I gotta tell you, I do. I enjoy them. I got the biggest kick Saturday night, when my 24 year old son, BJ, called and said he and some of his friends were coming by to have a couple of beverages and watch us play.

BJ is a great son, I love him so much. He’s always making plans to find his niche: he wants to own a pizza restaurant. Actually, he wants to buy the joint he’s working at right now, and has worked at for a great many years. I wish I could help him, but, I am a musician, which in this country, doesn’t count for much, especially, a blues musician. But, like BJ making pizza, I love it, and I don’t want to do anything else.

You know, this birthday was very cool. The music was just outstanding. And, to have a cat like Larry “3rd Degree” Byrne tell me, that he really enjoys playing with me – cool. He said, “I play a lot of this music quite often, but I have to tell you, your arrangements are very original and very fun!” He even asked for my calendar, so he can see what his availability is to do it some more! Hog heaven – I think so!!!!

Jelly Roll was in unbelievable form! He was rolling some riffs on that Mississippi Saxphone of his, that would have made Little Walter say, “Damn! I shoulda done that!” I don’t know much about how to play the harmonica, but I know what I like to hear. Little Walter, Jr. Wells, James Cotton, Billy Branch, Sonny Boy Williamson I & II, Hammie Nixon, Big Walter Horton, Charlie Musslewhite, and Jelly Roll Roy!!

My new Epiphone amplifier got it’s second outing too! That Blues Custom amp is outstanding! At 15 watts, it’s a true “class A” amp, and is indeed a joy to play! It growls, barks, bites, and it also cries and hums! It does anything I want it to do, just about! If it could make biscuits and gravy, I’d be set for life!! So now, I’m Epiphone all around, 335 Dot, Sheraton II, and a Masterbilt acoustic. Life’s “epi” good right now!

down the road…….

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