Former new-Dylan Elliott Murphy moved to France in 1990, but his latest album features 14 twangy songs with titles like "O Wyoming" and "Last Train to Memphis."
Although it was recorded in Paris and named for the street where Murphy now lives, "Beauregard" finds the singer-songwriter dropping such names as Huck Finn, Stonewall Jackson and Lucille Ball. Inspired by his 1997 American tour, the Long Island-born Murphy is finally taking a hard -- if characteristically literary -- look at the land west of the Hudson.
Murphy's first album, made in 1973, was unapologetically Dylanesque, but the singer was soon overwhelmed by punk; he began hanging out with Lou Reed and picked up a band that featured two of the original Modern Lovers. (One of them, Ernie Brooks, is the bassist on "Beauregard.")
These days, the singer sounds more like Reed than ever, both because of his rapid-fire diction and his more-talked-than-sung near-melodies.
If "Beauregard" is short on tunes that convincingly sell Murphy's lyrics, those lyrics stand pretty well on their own.
Appearing Sunday at Iota with Two Siberians. To hear a free Sound Bite from Elliott Murphy, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8106. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)