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ABOUT: Murray melds storytelling and song. Some people have said Mike Murray sounds a bit like Johnny Cash or Burl Ives with a twang.
Murray has been performing on the Olympic Peninsula since 2002 and in the Puget Sound region since 1991. Over the years, he has played with several bands from Juneau to Portugal, but lately he has been stepping out solo, playing his own accompaniment on guitar and banjo, mostly in a unique two-finger, syncopated style. Murray's songbook ranges from mid-19th-century songs by Henry Clay Work through 1920s songs by Charlie Poole and on through the '40s and '50s.
The songs Murray writes tend toward ballads, often with startling, macabre twists. The late Seattle musician Jim Bicknell once compared Murray's original songs to Ray Carver's short stories, although Murray says he takes more inspiration from O. Henry.
Murray grew up in a musical family in the northeast corner of Montana, where his father was an old-time fiddler, playing for dances from the 1920s through the '40s. Murray says his own vocal training consisted mainly of singing over the racket of a 1949 John Deere diesel tractor while summer fallowing as a kid.
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