Tag Archives: Crooner

To the Moon and Back with Topher Mohr

3 Sep

topher mohr

It should come to no surprise that musician Topher Mohr grew up in Michigan. His eclectic music, which aptly pieces together elements from several genres suggests inspiration, and what better motivation than the elaborate music history of Detroit? While Mohr is impossible to pigeonhole, his music did spark a thought. If Michael Fitzpatrick (of Fitz and the Tantrums) is today’s modernizer of old-school Motown hits than Topher Mohr is reviving the old art of tender crooning. It seems like a lofty proclamation until I introduce you to:

His gentle voice is soothing but subtly strong and passionate. His vocal is saturated with emotion, and the soaked feeling is easily identifiable in his airy guitar plucking. While Mohr does not have the dark, coffee-roasted voice of the traditional old-school, five-pack-a-day crooner, he does, however, revive the old sound and modernize it. It’s exciting to listen to him make an old standard like “Fly Me to the Moon” ring with a contemporary flair.

Beyond his black-and-white performance of “Fly Me to the Moon,” Mohr released his new LP Phlotilla earlier this year. Prior to the LP release, he toured the world with his friend Mayer Hawthorne, another artist who features an eccentric style of music creation. Mohr’s album focuses on vintage pop, and “Ruthless” stays true to the genre.

The rhythm is similar to Fitz’ Motown-inspired hits, but Mohr combines the rhythm with a Maroon 5 meets the 1980s melody. This combined with Mohr’s versatile vocal creates an intriguing hit that even has room for a clean guitar solo! It’s a moving piece and one of the strongest on the new album.

Find out more about Mohr (yes, I went there) at his Website. You can also check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Did it His Way

15 Sep

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. did it his way and today, he is $1 million dollars richer. Yes, the congenial crooner took home the title of Season 6 champion of America’s Got Talent last night, and, in my opinion, it was well deserved. Two weeks ago, I previewed the singers in the top 10 of the show, and wrote this about Landau:

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is a crooner. The purpose of America’s Got Talent is to find a potential Las Vegas act. It is difficult not seeing a man with his immense talent on a Las Vegas stage. I say this because there seems to always be a place for a 40′s/50′s throwback. I don’t think the crooner act is tired or antiquated. Murphy’s delightful voice can help restore the genre to Vegas. Murphy, a car washer from West Virginia, has blown away the judges week-after-week performing classics by crooners like Sinatra. And, on top of it all, he is so wonderfully humbled by the praise that it almost seems that he doesn’t realize the talent he has. You can’t help but root for the guy, and it is not difficult to because he is both genuinely talented and perfectly kind.

Besides his unquestionable talent, it was his kind, good-hearted nature that propelled him to the top of the show. Americans always vote for the underdog with the story about overcoming life’s difficulties. Landau, who was homeless at a point of his life, represented this picture, but, he did not lean on it. No, instead, he performed with gusto every time out and always seemed to appreciate the applause and comments. He worked hard and his hard work paid off. And, now, after the end was near, he will start a new life as a professional crooner, headlining an act in Las Vegas. I couldn’t be happier for him.

This performance above of “My Way,” originally by Paul Anka (but, of course, made famous by Mr. Frank Sinatra), “sealed the deal,” as judge Howie Mandel said. It wasn’t only the pure perfection of the notes that did it for me, but also it was a noticeable emotion that pushed out the most powerful and passionate notes in the song. Landau sang it like he meant it. And, he did mean it. Congrats to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and I am looking forward to buying an album of Murphy standards.

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