Willie Murphy is not just a bluesman. He is a soul, R&B, blues and rock legend who is a charter member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame along with Bob Dylan and Prince. Influenced by the piano playing of Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, Murphy created a style of his own in the early 1970s. With John Koerner and later with Willie and the Bs, Murphy would fuse folk music, New Orleans swamp boogie, and classic Memphis sounds to create a new style of R&B. He plays a half dozen instruments, writes great songs, and has produced some classic records (including Bonnie Raitt’s first Warner Brothers release and the still fresh sounding Elektra release, “Runnin’ Jumpin’ Standing Still” – made with John Koerner.
His life plays out like a history of modern music, born out of roaming, rebellion, and a boundless energy to create. He’s performed with everyone from Jefferson Airplane, James Taylor and Joan Baez to Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins and Son House. Willie is a songwriter and producer, but most of all, he is a performer whose music is larger than life.
His latest accolade came this past spring in the form of a “Sally” Award from the Ordway Center for Performing Arts for his life long commitment to music. In many ways he is Minnesota’s own Dr. John.