Scott Marckx is a luthier and made the violin you hear on this album. He has studied with Dewey Balfa, Bruce Greene, and Pete Sutherland among many at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He has also been on the tutorial staff up at Fiddle Tunes and helped students there learn tunes from old-time fiddler Carthy Sisco.
Jeanie Murphy has tutored banjo many times at Fiddle Tunes, where she has taken special delight in the music of Joe and Odell Thompson and Vesta Johnson.
For bookings, to order CDs, or to talk to Scott about a violin, contact them at:
OPINIONS FROM FELLOW MUSICIANS ON THE TIME'S BEEN SWEET:
"Great choice of tunes and I love the way ya'll play them! (That's of course the most important thing). In addition, the sound quality, graphics, layout are top notch." --Stuart Williams
"Marckx and Murphy offer grace and beauty with their closely meshed fiddle and banjo duets. They also set a high standard in their song accompaniment. Listening to their CD is a thoroughly enjoyable old-time music experience." --Kerry ("usually a jaded reviewer") Blech
"The Time's Been Sweet, Jeanie Murphy and Scott Marckx's new album, salutes the musical sources that have threaded through the lives of these two skillful players. Much of their learning came from face- to-face experiences with musicians who not only inspired them, but taught them many of the compelling tunes they perform. While their music centers on treasures found in the southern fiddle and banjo repertoire, they have also drawn on materials from Louisiana, the Ozarks, and even a province in China. Jean wrote several of the collection's most beguiling tunes, while Scott, a full-time instrument maker, built the wonderful-sounding fiddles that he plays. The thoughtful notes, first-class production values, and generous program of tunes underline the intimate strengths of this couple's labor of love." --Stephen Wade
"You did a lovely job. It is one of the most enjoyable albums I have heard in years--sweet music and full of feeling. I particularly liked your rendition of 'Coal Harbor Bend'." --Bruce Greene
"Murphy and Marckx are extremely well versed in the history and the lore of this music, and the liner notes do a nice job elucidating their sources and inspirations...Murphy's banjo work is awesome throughout.... Most impressive of all, however, are the couple's original compositions. The best of these break out of the traditional mold: they still channel the past, but they feel quite contemporary and fresh.... This is an outstanding CD." -Victory Music
Review from The Old-Time Herald, summer 2002, p. 50.
The Time's Been Sweet
Jeanie Murphy and Scott Marckx
This couple from the upper-left-hand corner of the States plays like they came from the lower right hand corner or center pocket. The selection of tunes and songs has enough variety and originality in the diversity to make it an enjoyable listen. Jeanie Murphy's vocals are at times reminiscent of Texas Gladden, and her banjo is the perfect foil for Scott Marckx's fiddling. Murphy's banjo shadow's [sic] Marckx's fiddle even on tunes like "In Come a Little Bee," which is the first part of [a] medley with "Hobb Die," which she chooses to accompany with a simple contrapuntal line that closely holds the fiddle in the forefront. Her vocal "Muskrat" is delivered with authority and disdain for the varmint, a delivery that works splendidly. With a muscular banjo accompaniment and a gritty vocal that only hints at an earthier vocal prowess, she sells the song. On the other hand, her vocal on "Hick's Farewell" is a wispy and vibrato laden, to the point of a waver displaying resignation and a little hint of determination in the going forth. Otherwise the vocals are adequate if not compelling.
The banjo and fiddle are the strong points of this recording and stand as fine examples of what old time music can be. Both musicians pull a powerful tone from their instruments and their interplay is so tight as to be one with each other. That they play together regularly is no small reason for this great musical bond. The tone on Murphy's banjos is excellent with "Veiled in Silence" being a banjo tour de force. But her playing throughout the project is excellent.
Marckx is a fine fiddle[r and] is clean and clear. His command of the bow is exemplary. The quality of the recording makes this project a listening joy. The two voices, banjo, and fiddle are so intertwined as to be one voice. They swing through these tunes with grace and aplomb. If you are not paying close attention the two Chinese tunes sound like something from West Virginia.
This is a highly recommended recording that should provide hours of enjoyment and at least a couple of new tunes for almost any listener.
CD Review: The Time's Been Sweet, by Jeanie Murphy and Scott Marckx
Jeanie Murphy is a clawhammer banjo player from Washington State, and her husband Scott Marckx is a fiddle player. Some of their influences were Bruce Green, Charlie Poole and Carthy Sisco. This CD has a number of tunes familiar to our group as well as many not so familiar, and it includes a number of tunes with vocals. All tunes are played with fiddle and banjo only, with a few tunes having a second banjo or fiddle overdubbed.
I like Jeanie Murphy's clawhammer banjo playing a lot. It is melodic at times, yet it still sounds old-timey. She plays cleanly and with good musicality and uses both a fretted and fretless banjo, as well as several less common tunings.
Scott Marckx's fiddle playing is clean and well in tune, but he keeps the old-time sound by not trying to play thousands of notes. The liner notes are well done with sources for the tunes named and tunings for both the fiddle and banjo supplied.
There are a number of interesting tunes on this CD which we don't play in our group, including a medley of two Chinese tunes they learned from a couple of Chinese musicians, one who played the yang chin [yuan chin] (Chinese hammered dulcimer) and the other the ruan (short-necked lute). These tunes work well for fiddle and banjo, sounding like good old modal tunes.
The vocal numbers are also worth listening to, including the final haunting tune from which the CD takes its title.
This CD is well worth buying and is an inspiration to aspiring banjo players and good listening for anyone interested in old-time music.
July 2004 Newsletter
1. Hogskin / Carthy's Spider Bit the Baby
2. Cross the Alleghenies
3. Coal Harbor Bend
4. Green Corn / Sally Comin' through the Rye/ Let's Hunt the Horses
5. Veiled in Silence
6. Bayou Fiddle Waltz
7. New Five Cent Piece
8. Green Mountain
9. Show Pity, Lord
10. La Coccinelle
11. Meg Grey / Under the Moon
12. I Ain't Got Nobody
14. Lady Gay
15. Two Chinese Tunes
16. Kerry's Challenge / Boys, My Money's All Gone
17. Farmer's Courtship
18. Birdie / Hell Up Coal Creek Holler
19. In Come a Little Bee / Hobb Die
20. Muskrat / Three Forks of Hell
21. Going Across the Sea / Johnny Lover's Gone
22. Hick's Farewell