Westminster Park: Live at Brown & Dickson Bookstore (and New Single!)

Westminster Park

Singer-songwriter, poet and author Steve Murphy is a familiar name here at Team GDW, known also as one of our regular featured GDW contributors for a while now.  Steve not only records and performs as a solo artist, but is also a co-founder of the London, ON, husband and wife fronted quartet, Westminster Park.  And on a recent hot and humid Saturday evening in London, both Steve and Colleen Murphy performed a rare intimate show at Brown & Dickson bookstore on Richmond St.  Steve (guitars/vocals) and Colleen (keyboards/vocals) would draw upon both solo and band material for this evening of melancholic indie-folk music, as well as a pair of surprise covers thrown in for good measure too.

Opening with a pair of tracks from Steve’s very recent 2019 “Elegant Peasant” solo album, the duo would share both “A Hostile Takeover of Your Heart” and “This Lonesome Town,” the latter being written based on observations made about their home city.  “We were talking a little about this earlier, how London is just feeling these days, from conversations overheard if you work downtown,” shared Colleen.  “These are really just snippets that I’ve heard on the bus,” Steve added.  The beauty of this particular song is how such simple, everyday observations translate into poignant, captivating tales: “Sorry to hear about your sis / I was sure they’d let her keep the kids / She was clean wasn’t she? / I mean nothing in her system at the hearing / Oh this lonesome town / Oh this lonesome town.”

While Steve needed some time to switch guitars and re-tune, Colleen would impress with a moving cover of the dark 2005 Sufjan Stevens track, “John Wayne Gacy Jr,” the tale of a an Illinois serial killer from the 1970s.  “Colleen is really looking to learn all of the most depressing songs in the world,” stated Steve following the number.  “It’s a genre that I’m gonna really explore,” Colleen explained.  “We have all of these things that show and glorify, recently, like murderers killing women, but we don’t have all of these shows glorifying the murders of men.”

Gravitating to songs of a more somber nature, Westminster Park would toss in a pair of up-tempo numbers mid set to liven the room.  “We’ve rocked way too much, this is far too much rock n’ roll for everybody,” expressed Steve after performing both “New Pair Of Shoes” and “Listen Linda.”  “Colleen really wanted to bring the depression in. She was learning a bunch of songs that were really, really pulling on the heartstrings, [although] this one is not too sad,” he added, prompting Colleen to take the lead on a great cover of Nick Cave’s “Love Letter.”

The duo remained conscientious of shifting the melancholy back to center, raising the tempo every now and then with the inclusion of tracks like “The Books I Read,” and the good spirited “Lately,” which saw Colleen take the lead vocals to close the show.  Ending on a high note, Westminster Park shared many of their lyrical observations of local London life, but made sure to send folks home feeling good about such stark realities.  We wish to thank Steve and Colleen for inviting us to this intimate show, which we enjoyed very much, and only hope that Westminster Park are back out on the music circuit again soon to share their wonderful music.

Set List:

  1. A Hostile Takeover of Your Heart
  2. This Lonesome Town
  3. John Wayne Gacy Jr. (Surfjan Stevens cover)
  4. Been Out Walking
  5. New Pair Of Shoes
  6. Listen Linda
  7. The Ghost of Eldon House
  8. Records in my Room
  9. Love Letter (Nick Cave cover)
  10. The Books I Read
  11. It’s Our Love
  12. Lately

If you’d like to hear some of Westminster Park’s music for yourself, this is your lucky day… they have just released a new single today, “I Just Wanna Get Home.”  Check it out below:

 

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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