The Power of a Gift
In 2013 Todd Murray (AKA Sincerely, Iris) received a unique gift for Christmas. His cousin, Jay Patton, a guitar player himself, who had always been a tinkerer of electronics, cars, and guitars, built him a Homemade 4-String License Plate Guitar using Todd's old Colorado license plate. It was a plan conceived by Todd's mom and a complete surprise. Todd explains, "The guitar is pieced together from old scraps of wood, a bolt and a nut where the strings crossover the body, and a cow bone. It was initially thought that the guitar might just hang on the wall as a conversation starter, but it sparked an entirely new direction for my music."
The first music birthed from this guitar was the album "License Plate Sessions" in 2014. A 6-song EP that almost exclusively used the oddball gift. (Truly a road trip album, most of it was written while commuting back and forth from Savannah, GA to Charlotte, NC.)
In 2016 Sincerely, Iris released the EP "Trouble" which mixed 6-string acoustic sounds with the gritty blues guitar of the previous album. By 2018, Murray recorded his first ever live EP album titled, "Goodnight Carolina," which was recorded live in a 200 year old church in Charlotte, NC. Todd laughs as he recalls the experience, "...just a few microphones, pews, and the spooky creaks and cracks from a historic church."
In 2019, Todd will release his first full-length album in six years. I'm Not the Same marks a turning point for Sincerely, Iris.
"The title track was a catalyst for the the entire album." says Todd.
"I took it to a producer to mix the song initially and I'm not sure if he didn't like the song or was just too busy, but he bailed on me. He wouldn't work on it. That rejection sort of lit a fire in me and I finished it with a different producer and that song made me a finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards this year. In a way, these songs represent pushing through that self doubt and rejection that we all go through."
The songs on I'm Not the Same have gotten bigger, more three-dimensional, and some cases, heavier.
He goes on to explain, "I'm trying to figure out how to create something more expansive from the limitations of that weird box with 4 strings...You never know how a gift from someone might be just the kind of inspiration you need. Who would have thought it all would stem from a beat-up piece of wall art."