(former Warumpi Band guitarist, singer, songwriter)
"It was dry. Desolate country. I was driving on this shocker of a road - bulldust and corrugations. I was hot, tired and hungry. I'd had tyre trouble all day. I was on my last spare, which was down to the wire. It blew and I drove on the rim. Then the red light came on. I had what you might call "low self-esteem" or I was worried about something in the past - I dunno - anyway I was generally sick of it. All of a sudden, these huge drops hit the windscreen. I looked around - the sky, the land, everything was calm and crystal clear....."
CALM & CRYSTAL CLEAR
Look Out Now
Neil Murray, former Warumpi Band guitarist, singer, songwriter, is set to release his debut solo album - titled "Calm & Crystal Clear" with Festival Records in early '89.
Neil originally hails from Lake Bolac in the Victorian Western District where he was brought up on a farm. He cites his early musical experiences as "bashing a snare drum in the chook house" followed by "playing raucous guitar in knock-up bands - the footy wind-up gig was the biggest thrill".
He went to Art school in the late 70s - "because I couldn't stand sheep work" - and it was there that he began writing songs. Electing to head out bush towards the Northern Territory 'because everyone else seemed hell bent on Europe", he did various jobs and formed bands wherever he stopped long enough.
He ended up in the Aboriginal settlement of Papunya in Central Australia - more properly known as Warumpi. Anyone familiar with the Warumpi Band will be no stranger to Neil's prodigious talent. As the self-confessed "bone in the coal pile" it was largely through his catalysing efforts over several years that the Warumpis toured widely, released two excellent albums and achieved national recognition.
Since the demise of the Warumpi Band, Neil has been steadily writing, demoing and preparing for his new solo career.
Neil refers to a lot of his music as "Outback Rock":
"Many of the songs derive their shape and form from more that ten years experience living and travelling in outback Australia - a lot of it in the company of Aboriginal people".
Prior to recording the album, he said:
"I'd like to make the kind of album you can stick on your car stereo and drive to Broome, Perth or Darwin and not feel you need listen to anything else ..... I want it to be both familiar and enduring much like the cumulative experience of Central Australia which still compels me to return. Even though I'm currently in Sydney, hugging the coast like the majority of urban Australians, I've got to constantly suppress the urge to just piss off. I'm travelling still. I know that road. I know that in a couple of hours driving I'd be over the range and the western sky would open up and I'd be out there ..."
It's as well he stayed put, for "Calm & Crystal Clear" is an impressive and stunning debut and should firmly establish Neil Murray as one of Australia's finest and distinctive contemporary songwriters and performers. Collectively the diverse songs on the album are best summed up by a description of the title track (and first single): - an inspired anthem that rocks out like a landscape expanding.
Neil Murray's "Calm & Crystal Clear" album is destined to be one of the major releases of '89. Neil will be performing nationally with a touring band to be called The Rainmakers.