New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

For great Jersey music and much more, tune into our radio station at

Jim Murphy Enters The Country Music Hall of Fame

By Gary Wien

On August 28th, Jim Murphy will receive an honor that no other New Jersey artist has ever received. After nearly 45 years of being involved with traditional country music, Murphy will become the the first inductee from New Jersey into "America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame." The ceremony will take place during the National Traditional Country Music Association's (NTCMA) annual old time music festival held in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

The NTCMA has been inducting deserving artists since 1976 in recognition of their impact and significant contributions to this traditional genre. Some of the previous inductees through the years include Johnny Cash, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Sr., Woody Guthrie, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, and the Everly Brothers.

Bob Everhart, NTCMA President, stated that Murphy had "attained a high status as a performer of classic country music. It is this achievement that our rural folks wish to honor."

"Unbeknownst to many people, New Jersey is quite the hotbed of traditional country music and bluegrass," said Jim Murphy. "You take Albert Music Hall down in Waretown for example. People come from all over the state and even out of state to see a Saturday night filled with good ol' traditional bluegrass, country, and gospel music. I feel very happy that New Jersey's getting some kind of national recognition for the amount of country music that is played in this state."

Murphy has played a major role in keeping country music alive and expanding its audience in New Jersey. Jim grew up listening to "The Hometown Frolic" radio show with Don Larkin on WAAT out of Newark. Years later, he persuaded the general manager at WJLK in Asbury Park to let him do a show with folk music.

"Back in the early 60s, the folk boom had taken off and a lot of people became interested in guitar music - everybody wanted a guitar!" explained Murphy. "A lot of the music they were playing I knew from the 30s and 40s - stuff I'd hear on country radio. It was basically old time country music."

His first broadcast was in October 1963. The show was so popular, the station let him add a country music show on Saturday afternoons as well. Local musicians like Melanie and Tim Hauser from The Manhattan Transfer often stopped by the studio to do a live set. And when the World's Fair came to Flushing Meadows, New York in 1964, Jim Murphy hosted a radio broadcast on WJLK from the New Jersey pavilion.

Traditional country music begins with the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers in Bristol, Tennessee back in 1927, Murphy said. They recorded at the same session for Victor Recording Company. Most of the music recorded prior to this minimized vocals and expounded on the instrumental playing, but this recording session changed all that. People marked the rise of traditional music from where the vocal and storyline were equally important with the instrumental background.

The next two to three decades saw country music grow with the Grand Ol' Opry and artists like Jimmy Davis, Tex Ritter, Ernest Tubbs, and then Hank Williams.
"When Hank Williams hit, man that was it!" exclaimed Murphy. "That was the corporate seal of what traditional country music means. He kind of brought all of this good material together and he wrote his own songs, but his style and the way he told the storyline was unparalled."

What many people don't realize is the role New Jersey played in the early history of country music. A few months after the historic recording sessions involving the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, the recording that pushed Jimmie Rodgers to stardom ("Blue Yodel") was recorded at the Victor Recording Studio in Camden, New Jersey. And in May of 1928, The Carter Family arrived in Camden to record "Wildwood Flower", a song that National Public Radio would name as one of the 100 most important musical works of the twentieth century.

Jim Murphy is not only well aware of New Jersey's role, but absolutely loves the state as well. He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and has lived in Brick Township for decades. In 2005, Jim Murphy and The Pine Barons recorded Jim's ode to the Garden State with "Go New Jersey" - a record filled with songs about the state and its history.

"I felt the need to do that because the state takes such a bad rap but when you fly over New Jersey you see there's a tremendous amount of forest," said Murphy. "It's really a beautiful state. I just wanted to do that at a time when I felt New Jersey needed an uplift - something to say good things about it."

The record contains songs with titles like "Forked River Mountains", "Lenni-lenape", "Pirates of New Jersey", "Jersey Blue", and "The Garden State Waltz".

Jim Murphy and the Pine Barons play throughout New Jersey on a regular basis and have a regular stop at the Albert Music Hall on the last Saturday of the month. When you see the band live you'll not only hear the music but hear plenty of stories as well.

"I like to think that what we do is more than just repeat the music," he explains. "We tell a lot of stories about the artists and the songs themselves. People find that very interesting. They love to hear the background of this music. We're just passing the history down along with the music."

Murphy will be doing a 30-minute set at the Hall of Fame induction in Iowa and he's hopeful to get the house band to play "The Precious Jewel" with him. That's an old country song recorded by Roy Acuff in the late 30s on the OKEY label and was the very first record Murphy ever bought.

Under the auspices of the NTCMA, the Hall of Fame is housed in the Pioneer Music Museum, located in the middle of a corn field, in rural Anita, Iowa. For more information about Jim Murphy, visit his web site, For a closer look at the NTCMA, its museum, hall of fame and festival, go to

For more by this author, click here

State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.

"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!

Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm


PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.