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McKee, Murphey top shows at Bing

Michael Martin Murphey performs Sunday at the Bing. (Associated Press)
Michael Martin Murphey performs Sunday at the Bing. (Associated Press)

Old school or new school, the Bing Crosby Theater has a pair of acoustic guitar anomalies coming through town this weekend in fingerstyle virtuoso Andy McKee and country music hero Michael Martin Murphey.

World-renowned fingerstyle guitar master Andy McKee made his claim to fame the new fashioned way, on YouTube.

Receiving more than 70 million views, McKee at one point simultaneously held the top three spots for the site’s top rated videos and remains one of the sites highest rated music clips.

Self-described as “just this guy from Topeka, Kan., who kind of blew up on the Internet about a week before Christmas,” McKee appeared on Josh Groban’s 2007 Grammy-nominated Christmas album, “Noel,” which was the best-selling CD in the U.S. that year. In 2010, McKee performed on Lee Ritenour’s critically acclaimed “6 String Theory,” along with guitar gurus Slash, Neal Schon, Mike Stern and others. 

Now eight albums into his career, McKee has been known to pop up on BitTorrent websites, and not just his music, as he has left comments sarcastically chastising fans for stealing his music, making statements such as this one on The Pirate Bay site: “Yeah thanks a lot for uploading! It’s not like I need to make a living with my music or anything. 8,676 thieves. If you really appreciate what I’m doing, buy my CD legitimately so I can continue to compose music rather than work at Kmart. I’m not Metallica. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars, much less millions. Andy McKee.”

• Among his many awards and honors, singer-songwriter and Texas native Michael Martin Murphey is a multiple Grammy nominee who has released 35 albums – six are certified gold – an inductee in the Western Music Hall of Fame as well as the author of New Mexico’s state song, “The Land of Enchantment.”

His megahit song, “Wildfire,” is one of the most played songs in the history of radio, in all formats.

In addition to his artistic exploits, Murphey is wild about horses. He has run ranches in New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Because of his accomplishments as a rancher and rider, Murphey was the chosen spokesman and entertainer for the American Farm Bureau Federation and Society of Range Management and he received the rare Lifetime Honorary Member of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Last summer Murphey released “Tall Grass & Cool Water,” subtitled “Cowboy Songs VI and Buckaroo Blue Grass III,” as a part of the epic series of bluegrass albums. 

Both shows are coming to town as part of the Bing Crosby Concert Series.

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