Back in the mid-Nineties, David Lee Murphy was one of the country music’s heavy hitters, knocking Garth Brooks from the top of the charts with his career-making single “Dust on the Bottle” and landing more than a half-dozen Top 40 hits during the decade’s final years. Then, as quickly as he’d risen to the top of his genre’s class, Murphy faded from public view, focusing instead of a songwriting career that’s kept his music – if not his voice – on the radio ever since.
That may change with his forthcoming new album No Zip Code. Co-produced with Buddy Cannon and longtime friend Kenny Chesney, it’s the songwriter’s first solo album in thirteen years. “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” the record’s kickoff single, even features guest vocals from Chesney, who scored a Number One hit in 2006 with Murphy’s “Living in Fast Forward.” Driven forward by reggae rhythms, sing-along choruses and a programmed percussion loop that’s more pop than country, the song is cut from the cloth of today’s crossover-friendly mainstream – a reminder that Murphy, who’s supplied artists like Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean with some of their biggest hits, has played a big role in shaping the sound of contemporary country.
“Don’t go hitting that panic button; it ain’t worth spilling your drink,” Murphy sings in the chorus, turning “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” into the sort of beach-bum mantra that suits Chesney’s own island aesthetic. It’s a natural-sounding duet from two friends who also teamed up on Live in No Shoes Nation, Chesney’s double-disc concert album, whose October release included a live version of “Dust on the Bottle.”