NEIL MURRAY first appeared in the early eighties as a founding member of the Warumpi Band, which over three albums (Big Name, No Blankets, Go Bush, Too Much Humbug) and twenty years of performing propelled contemporary indigenous music into mainstream Australia, yielding such classic songs as My Island Home, Blackfella Whitefella, Fitzroy Crossing, Jailanguru Pakarnu, Stompin Ground, From the Bush and Waru.
Neil Murray has since become one of Australia’s most respected and influential singer/songwriters and has enjoyed a solo career since 1989. He has released twelve solo albums- "Calm & Crystal Clear", "These Hands", "Dust", "The Wondering Kind", "Going The Distance", "About Time" (a 2CD retrospective compilation) "Spoken", "2Songmen" (live with Shane Howard in Darwin) ,"Overnighter", "Witness", "Sing the Song- the essential Neil Murray", and his latest release "Bring Thunder & Rain".
Neil Murray’s song writing is diverse- from the rollicking "Good Light in Broome", to the environmental urgency of “Burning land” to the prayerful "Native Born", the roots groove of "Long Grass Band", the endurance of love in "Over the Moon", the journeyman monologues of "Lights of Hay" and "Where my people go", the reflection on mortality in High On a Hill, and the contemplation of place in Burrumbeep Hill and Tjapwurrung Country. His work collectively describes an inner landscape to the heart of the nation - a journey which has done much to deepen and strengthen Australia’s contemporary musical heritage.
Those who have read his novel "Sing for me Countryman" (regarded as an Australian classic) or poetry book "One Man Tribe", or listened to his spoken word CD - "Spoken" or seen his play "King For This Place" or read his song lyrics in the published book "Native Born" would know of his affinity for the land and respect for indigenous culture.
In 1995, Neil Murray was awarded the APRA song of the year for "My Island Home" originally written for the Warumpi Band and re-recorded by Christine Anu. "My Island Home" has become something of an unofficial anthem and featured in the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
In 2005 Neil Murray received an environmental achievement award by the Glenelg-Hopkins Catchment Management Authority in western Victoria for his efforts in instigating “Healing Walks” along watercourses in the region and for being the inspiration behind establishment of the annual Lake Bolac Eel festival.
In 2007, Jailanguru Pakarnu- (Out From Jail) a song he co-wrote with Warumpi Band guitarist Sammy Butcher in the indigenous Luritja language- was honoured by the National Film And Sound Archives- “Sounds Of Australia” series- as a significant recording in Australia’s heritage. In 2016, My Island Home- as recorded by Christine Anu- received the same honour. Neil Murray was awarded the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year.
In 2010 his iconic song “My Island Home” was published as a children’s book and the equally landmark “Blackfella Whitefella” was published as a children's book in 2012 by One Day Hill.
Neil Murray's songs have been recorded by Mary Black, Jimmy Little, Amy Saunders, The Tiddas, Christine Anu, Ursula Yovich and the Warumpi Band.
Neil Murray performs regularly at festivals and live music venues in Australia and overseas. Neil Murray’s albums are out through ABC Music.