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How do you know if you are in a relationship that’s right for you?

What are the indications of that?

How are you supposed to feel when you are with the right person?

There are literally hundreds of webpages devoted to questions like this. The answers they give differ slightly but there’s one sentiment that keeps appearing on each and every list: The feeling of sharing a special connection with someone. Well, trust is a close second but of course, how can you trust someone you don’t feel connected with. Indeed, how would you even read that person? It’d be impossible. It’d be like being back at school and taking one of those really tricky math tests you know you are going to flunk.

I went off at a tangent here a bit – sorry.

The point that I’m trying to make is that if you want to skip skimming through hundreds of pages worth of relationship advice and still learn how you should feel when everything is just as it should be in your relationship, there’s an easier way to do it than to take a week off from work and start googling. It’s actually rather simple, just listen to our track of the week, Robb Murphy’s superb Christmas release, “North Star” (coming out on December 14), and more importantly, study its lyrics.

I’ve said this before but there’s no harm in repeating it: If there’s one thing Robb Murphy knows though and through, it’s relationships. Very rarely do you find an artist so in tune with the “mysteries of the heart.” If you’ve ever been in any kind of relationship, you’ll know that the sort of connection Murphy’s talking about in “North Star,” where you are able to finish each other’s thoughts and sentences, is anything but a given – perhaps even the rarest of things. Murphy’s description of the warmth and the sense of security that comes from such a precious connection is not only inspirational, it’s also spot on.

We’ll put our big coats on 
And wrap our heads in wool 
Then brave the icy snow 
We’ll go where no one goes

And I may make you smile 
A view that will never tire 
We’ll hold each other close 
And say what no one knows

Save me from this quickening dark
Summer is kind and winter is cruel
Guide me and I’ll follow your light
I’ll be your North Star too

According to the man himself, this is a song that “takes you on a journey through the snow, walking with someone special to you.” A journey indeed is what you will find yourself on as you read through the lyrics. There’s something very rustically artful and poetic (a bit of Robert Frost perhaps?) in the way Murphy describes the couple in the song, wondering around on Christmas Eve. The fact they are repeatedly going where “no one goes” and saying “what no one knows” is such a romantic notion and so powerful (not to mention beautiful) a thought that it makes even someone as skeptical of romance and love as myself melt completely and smile. You find yourself nodding, whispering out loud, “Yes, I could have some of that for Christmas.”

As the couple is coming to an end of their stroll, Christmas Eve is slowly turning into Christmas Day, they’re tired (“Our heavy eyes appear”) but happy because while “the world is out of sight” and “silence falls on night,” you get a sense that what happens next or indeed ever outside this relationship doesn’t matter. It’s neither here nor there. Wherever it is these two people end up, it’ll be a place just for them, their own realm, a place where “no one goes” and ultimately impenetrable to any outside force, a place you can only find by following your lover’s guiding light, trusting them enough to be your North Star.

Says Murphy when asked about the song’s genesis:

I used to live in North Belfast, very near the top of Divis Mountain,so anytime there was snow we would always get it pretty bad. One night my fiancée and I put ‘big coats’ and woolly hats on and took a walk in the snow around the area. This song was written when I was recalling this night and ''North Star’ refers to having that someone who can be your anchor, who can guide you in life and you can look towards, and hopefully you can do the same with them.

Keeping this in mind, “North Star” is a clever choice for a Christmas single. In fact, is there a better way to pay homage to Christmas than to release a song about love and inner peace? Probably not.

Musically “North Star” finds Murphy doing what he does best: Delivering outstanding, acoustic-driven folk tunes that have a touch of Ray Davies and Nick Drake fused with Americana in them. “North Star,” in particular, with its rhythmically-creative bridge, playful guitars, gentle piano and breathy lead vocals would have fitted quite nicely on any of the Kinks’ late sixties albums. And that’s not to say that Murphy is a Kinks sound-alike. He is not. If anything, he has definitely found a sound of his own. Whether you are listening to “Mysteries Of The Heart,” “Sleep Tonight” or “North Star,” you can definitely recognize a Murphy tune when you hear it. The Ray Davis and Nick Drake comparisons are here for one reason only: to somehow quickly describe the brilliance of Robb’s work. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Robb’s music might not get played on the radio every second of each day, nor will it probably find a home on the iPhones of the trendsetters of this world but it should. In my opinion, Robb Murphy is worth a hundred generic pop stars, most likely a thousand…and folks, even that feels like a low estimate all of a sudden. Why? Well, another Murphy classic just came on, a song called “Italian Dreams.”

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About the curator - Tommi Tikka

Tommi Tikka - Music to Curator

Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.

 

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