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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘How Could You’ miss out on Jessie Murph’s show at Marathon Music Works?

Jessie Murph performed everything from Amy Winehouse hits to her own unreleased songs.
Sara West
Jessie Murph holds her microphone to the crowd, as captured on Sept. 16 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Jessie Murph is a newer artist based out of Nashville and although her career is still in its early stages, when listening to her music, you can easily believe she’s been doing this for many years. Her earliest fans have seen her go from a cover artist to one touring the country, with Murph signing with Columbia Records in 2021. She was initially known for her videos on YouTube and TikTok, where Murph posted covers of songs like “Habits” by Tove Lo and more. Her debut single “Upgrade” was released in 2021 and her debut album “drowning” came out earlier this year. Her unique voice and emotive songs are applicable to many listeners, making the “Cowboys and Angels” tour a must-see event for original and new fans.

To start the night off, Henry Verus, a singer from Chicago, Illinois, took the stage. He is known for his songs “Your Guilty Pleasure,” “Pretty Little Liar” and his newest single “Two Weeks.” “Tennessee Whiskey” is a perfect song for Nashville, so it was not a surprise that Verus covered the song. It was adorable to see a couple by the bar slow dance together during Verus’ rendition of the acclaimed country song. Verus’ performance involved numerous high notes and vocal runs that gave his set a layer of skillfulness. Not only is Verus talented, but his optimistic energy and fan interactions after his performance showed his sweet personality as well. 

Henry Verus performs at Marathon Music Works, as captured Sept. 12, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West) (Sara West)

Moments later, people in the crowd began chanting Murph’s name, and when she strode up onto the wooden platform set, the chants escalated until the room was filled with people yelling her name. Her husky voice came through the speakers and as I listened to her opening songs, I noticed how similar her live voice was to the recording. 

A quarter through the show, Murph played “What Happened to Ryan,” a song about reflecting on losing a friendship. While Murph performed the song, a video played and Murph was cast in shadow during the entire song. This added to the message of the song, portraying the emptiness Murph was singing about. Because of this, “What Happened to Ryan” was the most emotional song played throughout the night. 

Just like in her heartfelt lyrics, Murph was honest when addressing the audience and she took the opportunity to say so.

“I wanna take a second to do something that is actually really difficult for me. I hate talking about myself but y’all always tell me your stories. And I feel like I don’t tell y’all enough how much you’ve helped me,” Murph said. “Y’all have helped me out of some very f****** dark times, I’m just really grateful for y’all. Y’all mean the world to me.”

It was wholesome to see an artist addressing their own fears and stories to their fan base. 

Since she got her start performing covers on TikTok and YouTube, it was no surprise that she had a few of her own renditions of popular songs intermingled in the setlist. The first cover of the night was “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. Murph put her own spin on the song with her raspy tone and a slowed-down tempo. She later played a cover by one of her childhood idols. 

“One of my favorite artists ever, she is no longer with us but her birthday was the other day. Sing along if you know it,” Murph said. 

The artist was Amy Winehouse. Her birthday was Sept. 14, and in honor of what would have been Winehouse’s 40th birthday, Murph gave her rendition of “Back to Black.” The song is the featured and titular track of Winehouse’s second and final album, which was released in 2006. Murph’s voice fit perfectly, matching the unique quality Winehouse was famous for.

Beyond blessing the audience with her renditions of timeless hits, Murph performed three unreleased songs. The first was titled “Mean It,” and the lyrics were projected onto the white fabric screens so the audience could follow along. The unreleased track followed a medium tempo, having its ballad-like moments with a beautiful chorus.

Later, my favorite unreleased track by far was about Murph’s mother. “Wildflowers and Wine” was a personal piece about the love a mother deserves.

“This next song is very personal to the both of us, it’s called ‘Wildflowers and Wine’,” Murph said.  “I wrote it about my momma, she is f****** superwoman, she deserves the f****** world.”

Before starting the song, Murph’s mother came onto the side stage, waved to the crowd and hugged some of the band members on stage. It was another sincere moment by Murph, and the song “Wildflowers and Wine” was a heartwarming ballad about the type of love someone deserves. The last unreleased track was “It Ain’t Right,” with a great guitar solo and heavy bass towards the conclusion of the song. 

The end of the concert had two surprises, one being Murph moving from the stage to the opposite side of the venue by the sound booth. She sat on a ladder while singing “Where Do You Go.” Halfway through the song, a security guard put Murph on his shoulder and carried her through the crowd back to the stage, where she continued the song. 

“Upgrade” was her first single from January 2021, and even though her band was not fully prepared, we still got to hear the song in a unique way. Murph opted for a more acoustic version that gave the audience their request. The encore may have been unplanned, but the reaction was the loudest of the night for the fan-favorite song.

Murph was not hesitant to be honest and vulnerable in her lyrics and performance. She may be a newer artist, but her maturity and vulnerability portray her as a seasoned performer. I hope to see Jessie Murph in a larger venue, like Bridgestone, while continuing to watch her career and talent evolve. 

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About the Contributors
Chloe Pryor
Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Pryor (‘26) is from Fort Smith, Ark., and is double majoring in psychology and communications studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can fund her reading, drawing or running late for class. You can reach her at [email protected].
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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George Albu
7 months ago

Beautiful piece 🙂