Bri Murphy finds creative freedom on her Breedlove Pursuit Concertina and Oregon Concert Acoustic-Electric. A Wisconsin native, Murphy's path to finding her own music involved moving to Nashville, studying classical violin, and touring the world as a fiddle player and background vocalist. We chatted with her about the Nashville scene, how the guitar unlocks creativity, and what keeps her inspired.
Describe your sound— what do you hope audiences connect with?
I grew up in Northwestern Wisconsin and my most recent record (Things We'd Rather Not Say) has a heavy Northwoods vibe. It's a good one to spin on a rainy day or a long night drive. My latest single, Yellow Roses, is a pretty in-your-face rock song, and that's what my live vibe is, too. I love getting stellar musicians together on stage and letting the magic happen, and taking the audience along for that ride.
Being a multi-instrumentalist and classically trained violinist, how do those skills inform your guitar playing and open up new creative possibilities on the acoustic guitar?
I think as a classical violinist I approach other instruments more melodically than rhythmically. There's so much dynamic range on a violin. I try to make that transfer to other instruments, whether it's guitar or voice. Sometimes when I write I'll use the violin to write a melody over an acoustic-guitar inspired chord progression. Switching instruments is a great way to break up writer's block for me.
What drew you to the acoustic guitar— what about it do you find inspiring?
Acoustic guitar has always been my go-to instrument for songwriting. I played mainly violin and piano through college, but there was always an acoustic guitar sitting around to experiment on, and I think I was drawn to it because it felt like a freer creative outlet than anything else I was formally studying in school and private lessons. The way I learned violin was a pretty strict formula, so the acoustic guitar was just like a sandbox for me to play in, musically speaking.
How does living in Nashville influence your work?
Nashville is an incredible place to call home as a musician and singer-songwriter. Talented people are around every corner, and I think having so many creative people in one place makes it an especially inspirational place to live. It's also such a supportive community. The creative community is tight-knit and I feel like we all really have each other's backs here.
Photo by Anna Haas/Red Hare Photography
What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?
It's really difficult to pick just one inspiration. I'm an observer by nature - I really soak up everything that's going on around me - and I get a lot of my inspiration from eavesdropping on conversations or just people-watching. Nature is also a huge inspiration for me. I hike with my dog several times during the week and find that the quiet time in the woods leads to a lot of creative output.
Tell us about your Breedlove Guitars.
My Pursuit Concertina is fantastic for traveling, especially when I'm on solo dates and having to manage a lot of gear and personal luggage by myself. For full band shows, I play the Oregon Concert Acoustic-Electric, which cuts right through the mix and has a great response, with a nice scooped mid-range and a punchy low end that sits really well with my vocal range. I have LR Baggs pickups in my acoustic guitars as well as my violin and usually run my instruments through the Baggs Para DIs for live gigs.
Keep up with Bri Murphy here: https://www.brimurphymusic.com/