"..brilliance, tension, effortless charm, dynamism, taste, character, and heart. Strong stuff. This one ain’t poured from the house well. This is the stuff they break out for the serious customer.."Joe McMurrian is one of those rare players who has developed his own idiosyncratic instrumentalist’s vocabulary. Never meaninglessly showy, but a fierce approach which is continually, assuredly asserting itself as a voice —despite uncanny reverberations of the past—like no other. That he has done this with his songwriting too is almost a bit unnerving. But perhaps in the end, it may be the vocals that penetrate the most. A strange marriage of smoky tone, restraint, exuberance, and implied weariness.."
- Oregon Music News
"A new form of Blues. A fusion of the Delta and their own haunted visions. In a way, when performing live they're like a classic jam band that can take a song and it's theme on for great lengths, never getting boring in the process.But what ever they are, they're extremely innovative with a sound completely their own....This quartet should be viewed as sculptors, or painters. They're creating a new demension of the blues within our dreams...exhilerating and mind-enchanting...a very new and very exciting vision of the blues"
- Cascade Blues Association, Portland Oregon
" I like your playing, you sure can rip on that Delta style...."
Charlie Musslewhite, Blues Legend
“One of the best electric blues bands on the scene... Think of Woodbrain as the North Mississippi Allstars of the Pacific Northwest. Certainly this band has enough dynamite in its sound to blow up a small bridge.”
Joe McMurrian is a Country Blues/Roots songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. Joe last album, Get Inside This House was voted Best Independent Self-produced CD of the year by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. Joe has performed alongside such luminaries as Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, Honey Boy Edwards, John Mayhall, Robert Cray, George Thorogood and Bert Jansch to name a few and has toured across the world. Joe performs a very unique individual style of music based in old Weird America & Delta Blues that can burn the roof off or sooth the beast. He plays mostly acoustic guitar, banjo and sings, but has been known to play Harmonica, jaw harp and Piano. His family roots run deep to the hills of Oklahoma where his grandfather ran moonshine which eventually got the family kicked out of the state. Joe grew up on the San Joaquin river delta near Oakley California, but left after high school to travel, work at casinos along the Mississippi river and busk on the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Joe prides himself on being a modern songwriter and interpreter of traditional music, not one to adhere to ridged rules of complacency or trendy novelty. He is also a very knowledgeable roots-music historian who holds an MFA degree and has lectured on many ethnomusicological subjects.
Joe is a highly adept finger-style guitarist and bottleneck slide player who incorporates a multitude of tunings and technical approaches in order to create a deeply engaging performance that is different each time. Joe is deeply influenced by the Delta Blues and American Hill country masters like Skip James, Son House, Doc Boggs, Robert Pete Williams, Fred McDowell, Robert Belfour, King Solomon Hill, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, R.L Burnside, Roscoe Holcomb, Nick Drake, Johnny Cash, Blind WIllie Johnson, Lightning Hopkins and modern players like Buddy Guy, Bert Jansch, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Leo Kotke, Doc Watson, James Blood Ulmer, Chris Whitley, Junior Kimbrough and Rajeev Tarnoth. Joe blends all these influences into a powerful modern gumbo that can switch from gut-wrenching, hard-driving deep blues to intricate soulful acoustic ballads.
Joe also maintains a power quartet called WOODBRAIN, signed to Memphis Label Yellow Dog Records. The result is the new release, Swimming in Turpentine, an album that promises new & exciting things things to come for Blues and Roots music.