The highly detailed press materials on Bridey Murphy, the uniquely titled, deliriously janglin’ and boisterously rockin’ debut EP from self-contained, multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer Jay Tonne (dba Tonne), uses loads of technically on point verbiage to make comparisons to 80’s and 90’s greats like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, Jr., early REM and revived bands of the era like Swervedriver, Slowdrive and My Bloody Valentine.
As we dig into the fascinating pairing of his fiery guitarisma, hard chugging rollicking grooves and coolly airy and ethereal, distorted vocals that make these four tracks insanely compelling, we also read that the Denver based Tonne was the former frontman for Austin’s Black Forest Fire – who, upon the band’s split hightailed it back to his home state of Colorado to pursue a master’s in Energy and Environmental Policy.
When you hear the rumbling guitars at the beginning of “The Great Game,” followed by his dreamy vocals over the subsequent shimmering funk rock, you’ll be grateful he found time between his studies to keep the musical flow going on his own terms. It’s also exhilarating hearing a picture perfect, blast from the get go jam romance that refers in one title to two cultural game changers of very different eras, “Jesus, Julie Christie!” But even as we read all those cool tidbits which illuminate Tonne’s influences and journey, we’re left to Google to find out what we really want to know: who the heck is Bridey Murphy?
I suggest reading the fascinating wiki page about the mid-20th Century housewife who set off a craze when she, upon a past life regression hypnosis, claimed to be the reincarnation of a 19th Century Irishwoman of that name. The amateur hypnotist who did the regression no doubt made a fortune off his book “The Search for Bridey Murphy,” songs and comedy albums were made, and folks threw Murphy themed parties and dances as people pondered, sometimes jokingly, the possibility of reincarnation.
It’s anyone’s guess why Tonne chose the fascinating but obscure reference as the title of his debut solo EP, and you don’t have to ponder spiritual realms as you listen. But “Bridey” and Bridey have one thing in common. Flesh and blood person or not, she rocked the world then, and thanks to Tonne, she’s doing it again!