Album Review: David Lee Murphy - "No Zip Code"

The 90s country hitmaker returns with his first album in 14 years and already has a fast-rising hit in the form of "Everything's Gonna Be Alright."

David Lee Murphy dreams of a place where there’s “no address, no zip code,” on his latest album’s title cut. And if you suspect escapism was front and center on Murphy’s mind while he recorded this project, you’re right. Sure, Murphy visits a few troubling locales now and again along the way, but for the most part, No Zip Code finds Murphy following Chris Janson’s party-starter approach to country musicmaking. Murphy just wants to be your festivity MC.

Kenny Chesney, who previously transformed Murphy-written songs (like "Livin' In Fast Forward" and "Pirate Flag")  into some of his biggest hits, helped produce the album (with Murphy and Buddy Cannon), and even lent his voice to “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” a kind of ‘don’t worry, be happy’ update to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Elsewhere, “I Won’t Be Sorry” is a rocking, ‘live it up while we can’ anthem, and “Winnebago” takes escapism, well, literally.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns on No Zip Code, though, because opener “Way Gone” follows a woman who is physically escaping -- for seemingly all the wrong reasons. “The train of thought she’s on,” Murphy tells us, “is way gone.” “As the Crow Flies,” which features Dan Tyminski’s deep South vocal assistance, introduces us to
a man hyper focused on getting with the women of his dreams at all costs. However, with its moody melody and lyrical obsessiveness, it seems a little creepy.

Murphy gets right back to partying, though, with “Get Go,” a song about not letting anything get in the way of a good time, and “That’s Alright” continues the celebration and even playfully warns, “It might get loud, it might go late.”

One titled “Voice of Reason” is the sound of Murphy complaining about a personal lack of common sense; albeit in a light, self-deprecating manner. “The voice of reason,” he half-jokes, “never speaks to me.” It’s the sort of song that makes country artists so endearing. In contrast to many pop and rock stars, most country folk don’t take themselves all too seriously. Murphy may get a tad ‘awe, shucks’ in a few places on his No Zip Code album, but this is likely because he’s not one to act the braggart. In reality, he’s one smart cookie. He also knows, as he reminds us with “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” that it’s rarely wise to always immediately reach for the panic button. Life has its trials, it’s true, but it’s also usually not as bad as you think. And hey, maybe everything will be alright after all.