Review: Lauren Murphie & The Sodo 4 — 777

Recent transplant to Seattle, vocal power house and whirling dervish Lauren Murphie found fast friends and kindred spirits in the Sodo 4 and quickly joined forces with them to record a debut album 777 released in March of 2017.

The veteran quartet, formerly known as Naked Bacon, sports the classic line up of two guitars, bass and drums with a mix of veteran players Gary Bruce and Shawn Ross on guitars, and an energetic youthful rhythm section of Adam Montgomery on bass, and drummer Hayden M.W. behind the kit. The nine-track debut was recorded by Ezekiel Lords at his new Echoes Studio in West Seattle, and if this disc is evidence of his skill he also should likely become a rising star on the northwest music scene. The vibe is one of modern psychedelic improve world groove blues rock, sort of a Haight Ashbury meets Georgetown Grunge aesthetic. The opening intro “Ancestor Ritual,” has a distinct Alice In Chains feel then segues into the full middle eastern rock anthem “High Priestess,” with Murphie doing her best to channel Yma Sumac. The time shifting latin-rock influenced “Misfired,” has her delivering a desperate lover’s lament wail alongside the lead guitar howl. The deep grooving “Master of Medes,’ begins on a traditional slow blues form with dueling acoustic guitars then revs up to full electric crescendo.

The album’s most radio friendly track” Reelin,’ is a swinging southern rock sing along love song of faith, love and family that features sublime duel guitar leads ala Dwayne and Dickie and tasty percussive bursts. Guitar driven tracks “The Heir,” and “Virgo,” find Murphie flexing her vocal muscles, firmly leading the heavy grooving blues rock assault akin to Joan Osborne or Grace Slick. The album also includes the eleven-minute sonic exploration “Acid Jam 7,” that was recorded at an “Undisclosed Location,” the title alone explains all you need to know. Album closer “Lunar,” is a hypnotic blend of poetry and 70’s acid rock that soars in a glorious retro triumphant fanfare. 777 may be the platform for Lauren Murphie and the Sodo 4 to take flight and rise on the Northwest scene.

(You can listen to “Reelin'” below via Soundcloud and get more info about the band HERE.)

Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)

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