Leave was the sort of hard-working, extremely talented but never flashy, meat-and-potatoes Midwestern power-pop band that can be heard in two or three venues around town on any given night, and which always prompts a smile. It's the kind of group that's all too easy to take for granted--until it's gone.
I last celebrated the effervescent grooves, tight harmonies and chiming guitars of bandleader Mike Murphy, guitarist Jim Latsis, drummer Terry Keating and bassist Joe Herrmann in one of the periodic roundups of local demos and D.I.Y. releases that were the precursor to this column in 2003. I kept an eye on their doings in the years that followed, but didn't get around to writing about them again until now, as their latest self-released album "On a Happy Note" arrives with both the best music and the saddest news they've given us.
The new disc commemorates Murphy's last recordings, completed two days before his death at the hands of a hit-and-run driver last year. The sounds can be sampled online at www.myspace.com/leavechicago, but it would be even better to celebrate it live from 3 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St. in Merrionette Park, during the "Murph's Gift of Music Benefit," a fundraiser for the Michael J. Murphy Music Scholarship Fund to provide lessons and instruments to children and teens who don't have the financial means. More information can be found at www.murphsgiftofmusic.org.