Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’re listening to the latest single from New York’s Tom Murry. Lay Me Low was released on November 4, 2022, and for fans of outlaw country, this one is for you.
Lay Me Low starts with a few thumps on kick drum before a brush train-style snare pattern comes in. At this point, you instantly know what style of music you’re in for and the red dirt/ outlaw country style is embraced thoroughly.
Tom’s voice is low and warm, reminiscent of Johnny Cash or Chris Rea, and the whole song takes on a Johnny Cash feel. There are moments we were reminded too of some of Mark Knopfler’s vocals and guitar styles.
Some lush harmonies come in at the end of the first verse and follow the lead line throughout most of the rest of the song. At times they’re in unison, but they always sit perfectly, just beneath the lead line and bolster it beautifully.
We absolutely love the incidental country guitar fills here. There’s an obvious skill in Murry’s playing and it is demonstrated here to perfection. By the time we reached the solos, we were already thoroughly impressed with his playing, but it was at the solos that he absolutely blew us away. From some beautifully flowing fast country licks panned left and right to some classy pedal steel, the guitar playing in this track is spot on for this style of music.
Later in the song, there’s the occasional piano riff thrown in, and towards the end, the pianist gets the chance to shine too.
Murry mentions in his biography that he has collected several highly respected musicians to contribute to this recording – it shows! This is a great example of renegade outlaw country music and the guitar playing, in particular, from Murry himself has all the flourishes and confidence of someone who has been playing for many years.
From a production perspective, we’d suggest a hi-pass filter at 35Hz would remove some sub-bass rumble and make the low end a little clearer. There are some occasional muddy tones around 190-200Hz so a small cut here would help to balance those out. A cut around 400-450Hz would reduce a slightly ‘boxy’ sound to the vocal track. A boost around 4-4.5kHz would add to the presence and definition in the track. A boost in the top 2 octaves would increase the brightness and make the vocals a bit clearer. A light compressor/limiter and maybe 5dB of make up gain would add to the overall warmth in the track as well as bringing the volume up to match similar releases.
For fans of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and similar, you can’t go wrong with Tom Murry’s uplifting and energetic, Lay Me Low. We’re looking forward to hearing more from this superb guitarist.