AUTHOR - MUSICIAN - ARTIST
When exposing the lives of others, we reveal our own fractured personality. When you try to be honest about your take on other people, your own weaknesses and insecurities emerge for all to inspect." This is regarding the embellished memoir, My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide.
James Murphy earned an MA from the University of Oklahoma in Administrative Leadership and a BS from the State University of New York with a concentration in Arts Management. He is the principal founding member of the New York State Blues Festival, serving as festival director from 1992-2003, and again in 2013-2014. He co-founded the Syracuse Guinness Irish Festival, serving as festival director from 1999-2003. Both of these community events continue to be popular in Syracuse, NY.
He and his family moved to El Paso, TX in 2004 where he first worked as managing director for El Paso Opera. He had been serving the City of El Paso as the director of development for the El Paso Museum of History since 2006 until his recent retirement in 2018.
Music - The 2920 Sessions
Mr. Murphy has been a songwriter and performer since the early 1970s, releasing a few original rock cassettes and a pop 45 along the way. e is currently producing the 2920 Sessions, a series of recording sessions in his home studio featuring several El Paso artists performing his music that covers several genres. His music ranges from the blues with the award-winning 2012 release of the 4-CD box set, A History of Blues, to country/folk/Americana, with the 2019 release, The Way Things Used To Be, a collection of songs written during his hitchhiking adventures that spanned a decade. Getting these projects out of his system, he began delving into an untapped genre - Jazz. This was the next logical move. This began The 2920 Sessions. Recently retired, this was the perfect time to play guitar and write new material every single day! Jazz: The 2920 Sessions, is a collection of songs, some written decades ago but never recorded, and was finally released in 2020. Murphy admits some material may seem overproduced and should be placed in the "I am trying to figure out a new genre category so bear with me" file. In 2021 Murphy began a journey toward his second jazz piece, Park North. Almost every composition on Park North is new. Thoughtful chord progressions, and a closer, cleaner feel to the objective - learning jazz. There is an extraordinary amount of original music available by clicking on the music link to the left.
Becoming an Author
Mr. Murphy states, "Becoming an author was an unexpected opportunity that opened an entire universe of untapped exploration." In 2008 Arcadia Publishing blanketed the Southwest with proposals for their well-known Images of America series. A beautiful publication that focuses on historical aspects of "any town" America. Each book contains approximately 200 black and white photos accompanied by a brief analysis of each. He was selected to write, El Paso: 1850-1950, and thus, the official book-writing bug began. More than 8,000 photos were examined for the book. The project took one year from conception to the coffee table. El Paso: 1850-1950 is loved by teachers, students, established El Paso families, and new arrivals to this region of the United States. It is available on this site, online through several sources, and locally throughout El Paso.
His follow-up, My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide: A Love Story, began as a series of short stories describing events that led to a nervous breakdown in the mid-1970s. As a new author he realized that in order to truly accomplish his personal goal of becoming a valid author, the storyline and characters would have to be fully dissected, redirected and exposed for all to see. Unknowingly, when he exposed the lives of others, he revealed his own fractured personality as he states, "I probably wish I hadn't, but that is the price paid. When you try to be honest about your take on other people, your own weaknesses and insecurities emerge for all to inspect." While the title, My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide - A Love Story, certainly portrays an impending doom, the stories themselves, the memories of innocent youth before that tragic, suicidal day are quirky embellishments of an interesting upbringing in the rolling hills and valleys of Central New York.
His two 2015 releases are, My Favorite El Pasoans: Past and Present, and, The Right to Kill. In 2017 he released, The South Franklin Trinity, and The Adult Stress Relief Book: I'm So Pissed Off.
Accomplishments / Awards
- 2023, Released Diddle, an instrumental jazz CD featuring all original music, one borrowed from Jazz: The 2920 Sessions, and two borrowed from Park North. The remaining five works are brand new. BLBM Publishing
- 2022, Released Blues Salad: The Avocado Sessions Part One. Part One is the dismantling of the 4-CD box set, A History of Blues. This series categorizes the box set into three separate entities: 1) harmonica-based blues mostly recorded during the 820 Sessions in Syracuse, NY. 2) fingerpicking blues, and 3) Dou songs featuring guitar, harmonica, and vocals, or guitar, bass, and vocals. Parts two and three should be released in 2023. BLBM Publishing
- 2021, Released the acclaimed jazz CD, Park North, BLBM Publishing
- 2020, Released the CD, Jazz: The 2920 Sessions, BLBM Publishing
- 2020, Released Poetry from a Road Scholar, through Wipf and Stock Resource Publications
- 2019, Released the folk/Americana CD, The Way Things Used To Be. BLBM Publishing
- 2019, Founding member of The Iva Turney Society for Arts and Adventure
- 2018, Founding member of The Art of the Arts Society
- 2017, Published The South Franklin Trinity, BLBM Publishing
- 2017, Published I'm So Pissed Off!!! - The Adult Stress Release Book, BLBM Publishing
- 2015, Published My Favorite El Pasoans: Past and Present, published The Right to Kill, and published 2nd edition of My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide - A Love Story, BLBM Publishing
- 2015 -2017, President/Festival Director, El Paso Music Society, Inc.
- 2013-2014, President/Festival Director, New York State Blues Festival
- 2014, 1st Place, Worthy of Being Called Excellent, Book Publishers of El Paso for the embellished memoir, My Life Before I Decided To Commit Suicide - A Love Story, BLBM Publishing
- 2014, 1st Place, Most Promising, Book Publishers of El Paso for, El Paso: 1850 -1950, Arcadia Publishing - Images of America
- 2013, SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Award), Best Blues CD, A History of Blues
- 2010, Co-edited El Hilo de la Memoria, Fresco Fine Arts Publications
- 2009, Published, El Paso: 1850 -1950, Arcadia Publishing - Images of America
- 2009, Founding member, El Paso Blues Society
- 2009-2010, President, Los Paisanos de El Chamizal
- 2004, Awarded the Selfless Service to Music and the Arts, by the New York State Blues Festival
- 2003, Awarded the Keeping the Blues Alive – Best Promoter/Festival, the Blues Foundation, Memphis, TN
- 2001, 1999, 1997, Awarded the People’s Choice Award, Best Festival, Syracuse New Times
- 1998-2003, Founding member/Festival Director, Guinness Irish Festival, Syracuse, NY
- 1996, Awarded a SAMMY – Syracuse Area Music Award for Best Concert Event or Series, NYS Blues Festival
- 1995, Service to the Arts, Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse and Onondaga County
- 1992-2003, Principal founding member/Festival Director, New York State Blues Festival, Syracuse, NY