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David Lee Murphy brings fun, rocking country to WAYZ Summer Fun Fest

August 13, 1997

By TERI JOHNSON

Staff Writer

When David Lee Murphy performs a song, he doesn't want listeners to just sit there.

He wants them to share his adventures.

The country singer and songwriter said he draws his inspiration from the people he's met and the places he's been.

"I travel all over the place and see all kinds of stuff," Murphy said in a telephone interview from Portsmouth, Ohio, where he was performing at a fair. "That's what makes our music real life."

Murphy, 38, said that by writing his own material, fans can get a glimpse of what he's really like.

"That's what gives us a signature sound, what makes people say `Oh, yeah, that's David Lee,' " he said.

Area fans can hear that sound Sunday, Aug. 17, when Murphy and his four-member band perform at WAYZ Fun Fest in Rouzerville, Pa.

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From 5:15 to 6:25 p.m. he'll play some of his trademark tunes, including "Party Crowd," "Dust on the Bottle," "Every Time I Get Around You" and "The Road You Leave Behind."

Murphy also will perform some songs from his third album, "We Can't All Be Angels," scheduled for release next month.

"It's a fun, rocking country record. It just fits in with the way I am - kinda not the angel," he said.

The album features his current single, "All Lit Up in Love," which is climbing the charts. Murphy wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the album, which is in the same tradition as his others, "Out With a Bang" and "Gettin' Out the Good Stuff."

"It's pedal-to-the-metal country, and it's fun to do live," said Murphy, an acoustic guitar player.

Murphy, an outdoorsman who likes to hunt and fish, said he wants to make music you can listen to when you're camping, fishing or driving around on a Saturday night.

He grew up in a middle class, working family, and he relates to people with a blue-collar attitude.

"It's important to me that those people identify with the music I make," he said.

He left his hometown of Herrin, Ill., in 1983, intent on establishing himself as a songwriter in Nashville, Tenn.

His first song, "Red Roses (Won't Work Now)," was recorded by Reba McEntire in 1985, but a lot of lean years followed. He scratched out a living by playing in clubs, barely making ends meet.

After years of trying to land a recording contract, he signed with MCA Records in 1993. His first hit was "Just Once," a song featured in "8 Seconds," a movie about bull-riding champion Lane Frost.

The years of struggling may be over, but he said hasn't changed since 10 years ago.

"My outlook on life is still the same," he said.

Murphy has a lot to look forward to these days.

He and his wife, Donna, are expecting their third son in September. The couple and their two boys, ages 9 and 4, live on a farm outside Nashville.

In October he'll receive an award from American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for writing three No. 1 songs in a one-year period.

But before that, there's Fun Fest, and Murphy said he can't wait to see his fans in Pennsylvania.

He said his audiences are fun crowds, and he doesn't like when they are quiet.

"I love it when they're up on their feet and screaming," he said.

Oh, yeah, that's David Lee.

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