To Sincerely, Iris; With Love from a Fan

Courtesy of Sincerely Iris' Facebook

Sincerely, Iris is wonderful! Their recordings feature beautiful string arrangements that have an incredible flow coupled with imaginative lyrics. Sincerely, Iris is an intelligent hybrid which has a mesmerizing sound.

Sincerely, Iris is actually the craftwork of singer/songwriter Todd Murray based in Charlotte, NC. Live, Sincerely, Iris is essentially Murray’s solo act but in the studio he recruits the violin expertise of Ricardo Ochoa of the gypsy jazz band the Velvet Caravan. Murray uses a relatively unique instrument; a four-string homemade license plate guitar that his cousin built for him. It is very similar in design to those cigar box guitars that you might be familiar with. Murray’s instrument can only be played with a slide and is made of metal and from materials used to make license plates.

These guitars resonate like a dobro and adds an interesting texture to Iris’ recordings. Around 2006 Murray started recording under his own name. Then, around 2009 Sincerely, Iris was born. To date they have three full-length CDs and one EP as well as two current singles. A second EP is scheduled to come out in January and will more than likely be titled “Trouble.”

When I asked Murray about his development and influences he explained that when he first started to play music he suffered from stage fright. “On my early demos my vocals weren’t as good as they are now,” he explained. “I had to work hard to improve them”. Well, Murray has succeeded in creating a nice vocal style for himself. He cited the book by Steve Martin, Born Standing Up, which inspired him to persevere. Martin explains in the book how in his early days he felt like he didn’t have any talent and how he overcame that obstacle.

Murray also explained that when he first started writing songs he would always write from the “first person singular” in an almost autobiographical way. His writing has progressed to a style that encompasses a variety of points of view. For instance, his two new singles are written from different perspectives; “Sweet Bonnie” is a story song based on the exploits of Bonnie & Clyde from Clyde’s point of view. The single “1,000 Years” is based on a quote from Mark Twain. Murray explained that now that even though he writes about different subject matter and experiences that are not always his own, he almost always “plants” himself somewhere in the story.

And Sincerely, Iris’ musical influences? Murray studied jazz for about two years and mentioned that he listened to a lot of Miles Davis, especially Kind of Blue. This influence comes out when you hear the pulse that many Sincerely, Iris songs have. Murray mentioned his love for gypsy music. Artists like Django Reinhardt and the more recent Rodrigo & Gabriella were mentioned at the top of his list.

I think the future is bright for Sincerely, Iris. Look for their new EP in January 2016! If you like music with interesting content, give them a listen.



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