Even as the journey to Portland to see Alexi Murdoch began, it was evident that music would play a big part in the weekend. Certain songs played for the first time in the car while driving through the snow would forever be etched into my memory as instant links to the trip. Without ever really forming the concrete thought prior to the trip, but realizing it early in the drive... music's ability to shape our memories is one of the more beautiful things about it. More so than a new song's ability to remind us of days gone by, its true triumph is found when a song can define what's happening to us today and then serve as a means to recall those memories and emotions when we hear that music later in life. With the music of The Lighthouse & The Whaler providing that future connection on the drive over the mountain, Alexi Murdoch's performance at the Doug Fir Lounge and his album Time Without Consequence served to frame the rest of the weekend and subsequent drive back to Central Oregon.
Alexi found a packed Doug Fir Lounge awaiting to hear his quieted and deep voice drench us with his rich emotion filled songs. Camping out in seemingly singular chords, his sound became increasingly complex as it entered the ear. Surprisingly, without literal story telling... stories were told none the less. Songs like "Wait" and "All My Days", were shells of stories that the listener was able to fill in with his or her own specifics.
As Alexi performed "Song For You" (his sympathetic ode to trying times), he plucked tears out of his guitar and drew us into thoughts of those in our lives who need to know we get what they are going through. "You think no one understands... listen to my hands..." is evidence that his guitar playing is much more than merely a nice sounding background for his lyrics. The music is just as much a part of the story as the words.
The best performance of the night wasn't one of his more popular songs "All My Days" or "Orange Sky", but his uplifting spring song "Blue Mind". A tale of breaking free from the shackles of past oppression, Blue Mind, served as the largest source of reflection on the drive home (meaning the repeat button was pressed several times). A true poet and talent, Scotland's Alexi Murdoch will be a welcome visitor to Oregon and a must see artist for those of you yet to see yourselves in the mirror of his music.