KANEVILLE – Kaneville resident Lee Murdock has enjoyed sharing his music with his community over the years.
He will do so again at his Annual Hometown Concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 5 at Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. The concert started as a way to raise money to make repairs to the Kaneville Township Community Center.
“It was an opportunity to get the community aware that the township owned the building now,” the 59-year-old Murdock said. “They liked it so much, we did another one, and then it has just grown from there.”
The concert now is part of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival’s Concert Series and will take place at Kaneland High School’s auditorium.
Murdock, a 30-year resident of Kaneville, will be sharing the stage with musical guest Anne Hills, who previously was part of the Chicago folk music scene and now lives in Pennsylvania.
“The way the format works is that I will get up and do a set and introduce the guest artist, and then Anne will do a set,” Murdock said. “After the intermission, we will be both on stage, and the audience can ask for a song, or Anne will ask me for a song or vice versa. It’s really a nice opportunity to get the community involved.”
After playing at venues all across the country, Murdock said he is happy to be in front of a hometown crowd.
“It’s a very, very nice space,” he said. “And it’s become an event that people come to every year. And they don’t know exactly what the show is going to be like, including the artists, which adds some adventure. It always turns out great. It always is fun.”
Although Murdock has been performing for more than 30 years, he never gets tired of playing music.
“I started out as a general folk singer, singing all different types of folk songs, and then I became more specialized,” he said. “I felt it was important to sing songs about where I was from, so I focused on Midwestern songs, and then focused a little bit more on the folk music of the Great Lakes region.”
The music of the Great Lakes is now his focus.
“I talk about the lives of the sailors, not only in the tall ship era, but up to the present,” Murdock said. “This year, I released an album on the War of 1812. Rather than just a collection of folk songs, it’s history and music together. That is what makes it very fascinating to me.”
He is pleased to see a resurgence of interest in folk and roots-based music.
“There is a universality to it,” Murdock said. “There is an emotion to it, but it is emotion steeped in history or a sense of place. And I think as we become more of a digital society, that will play a bigger role, because we are always searching for our roots.”