"Scott Murray sings like a
Christopher Murray is an accomplished singer/songwriter
and a veteran of the acoustic music scene. Raised in the
heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Scott grew up
absorbing its rich story-telling tradition and
Appalachian music legacy. His first album "The
Old Man Dreams," a collection of original
material, was a regional success.
Scott moved to Nashville
in the early 1990's. While there, he opened for
Emmylou Harris, Bruan Bowers, Goose Creek
Symphony and Suzy Bogguss. He also shared the
state with Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Shelby
Lynn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and
Henry Gross. Scott was named Grand Prize winner
at the Gumtree Folk Festival, and was a regular
performer at Townes Van Zandt's bar in Nashville.
Nashville and returning home to Virginia, Scott
wrote and produced the songs on his second album,
"Short Stories." Two of these songs
were selected by Virginia-based DCD Records in
1998 to appear on a compilation of Shenandoah
artists. Shortly after the release of this
compilation, "In the Shadow of the Blue
Ridge," the Canadian Games Commission and
the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation accepted
one song for consideration for the 1999 Pan
American Games. The song, "Manitoba, "
was written by Canadian Dean Sayln and sung by
Scott Christopher Murray.
DCD Records released "Short Stories". Since
that time, Scott has opened for 10,000 Maniacs, Dave
Mason and David Wilcox. He has received two awards from
ASCAP for song writing and performance. In 2000 "Short
Stories" was nominated for best contemporary folk
album of the year.
Christopher Murray: Short Stories
Scott Christopher Murray -
acoustic guitar, vocals
Dean Salyn - piano, backup vocals
Richard Carter - drums, percussion
Ron Delavega - cello, fretless bass
Jack Pearson - electric guitar
Bo Deloach - acoustic guitar
My songs are a moment in time for
me, snapshots taken late nights in living rooms, warehouses and
studios all across Nashville. It has always been my desire to
tell stories and paint pictures with the words and music I
write. These short stories are from my heart and hands. "
out the Story on Scott Murray in the New
Issue of "Americana Rhythm"
Valley native Scott Christopher Murray has shared
the stage with the artists like Willie Nelson,
Lyle Lovett, Shelby Lynn, Kathy Mattea, and Henry
Gross. And he once shared a table (no
dinner, just drinks) with Johnny Cash, his lovely
daughter Roseanne, her husband Rodney Crowell,
and John Prine. He says he spent several
hours trapped in an elevator with Kenny Rogers,
hung out one morning with Seals and Crofts, had
dinner with Waylon, Willie and the boys, and was
once totally disrespected by Wynona Judd.
In 2000 his CD, Short Stories, was a Grammy
contender for Contemporary Folk Album of the year.
All of this from a kid whom most probably thought
would struggle to finish school. From the time
Scott could talk until late in his senior year of
high school, he spent many hours in speech
therapy for a severe stuttering disorder.
At 12, the very shy,
introverted Murray opted for guitar lessons
instead of a study hall because it sounded
a little more fun. That lead to his first
guitar, a Suzuki, that he got from a little store
in Harrisonburg called Blue Ridge Music Emporium.
Scott would hold up in his room for hours playing
with his new guitar and experimenting with the
three chords he learned in guitar class.
I learned every
song John Denver ever wrote, he said. But because
he was so shy, he kept most of his music to himself.
Being that kind of an introverted personality
really played well into spending time on the guitar and
writing. I was using my imagination and finding different
ways to communicate. But my parents didnt even hear
me sing until I was about 24, he said.
Scotts room couldnt hold him forever though.
I got tricked once by my brother into going to an
open stage night in downtown Harrisonburg. Someone put my
guitar up on stage and told me I better come down there
and get it. Scott wandered unassumingly to the
stage and was subsequently cajoled into playing a song
while he was up there
Time To Move On
When Scott graduated from high school he set out for
college and an education in medicine. My math
skills were so bad that I couldnt get past the
organic and inorganic chemistry classes, he said.
I ended up at Elon College for a couple of years. I
kept switching majors, never really ending up on any
particular interest. I finally transferred to JMU.
Scott spent five years at JMU, the early part of it still
trying to determine what he really wanted to do.
Eventually Speech Pathology surfaced as an interesting
direction having spent so much time around it in his
earlier years. That interest eventually lead to a career
in Audiology, but not before a trip to Nashville to
pursue his love of music and writing songs. I quit
graduate school during my first semester because
something was missing and I knew I needed to follow
what was drawing me. So I spent 10 years focused on my
music in Nashville and traveling around playing and
Scott said he landed in Nashville on his way out to
Austin Texas and lived out of his suitcase for a year and
a half. I was always going to be heading out that
next weekend but never really ever made it. I wound up
staying in Nashville for almost seven years.
Of course, like any artist, for Scott, performing his own
music is what really drives him. His girlfriend Jenny
said that she sees something different on Scotts face
when hes up there on stage. He goes somewhere
else, she remarked. It just becomes,
Scott said. I dont have to call it up.
Im Scott Murray up until that moment of the first
guitar chord, then theres that other something else
that just kind of takes over. Its not like being
taken over, possessed if you will, It just
happens, he said. Its a very safe place.
Is the audience really out there when youre
in that moment I wondered? Oh yeah,
theyre out there, Scott said. You feel
the presence, even if theres not good lighting. I
like being able to look out there and see them because
theres that connection for me there. Its
difficult making eye contact sometimes because I do feel
that natural need to pull back, but you want to look out
there and see if youre reaching someone. And
thats what youre looking for. I look for the
foot that moves, or the nod, or when someone leans over
and whispers, or grabs a hand. I try to write about
moments in life, and they wind up being meaningful.
Theyre meaningful to me and thats what I try
to put out.
You look out there and see a tear, thats the
most incredible form of a compliment when you reach
someone that much. It is a give and take. Theres
this flow that goes on between me and the audience.
Its wonderful to be in, so much to the point that
when I get off stage I ask Jenny, how was it?
Its like I dont remember. My songs wind up
being such a beautiful, sweet, sadness, melancholy kind
of thing; its almost like a baptism as I come out
of that song. I want to talk about it. Not so much about
the next song, but leading into that next song. Ill
just bring up a small story and try to get the levy,
watching them lean back and laugh. And then take them
down into a song like In June. And after you
immerse them into that kind of emotion, you need to dry
them off a bit. So the show gets to be a real neat ride
for me. Everything Ive ever put into a song, its
right there in my face again. Sometimes I sence that
I cant do that song yet, Ive got
to prepare for it and build up to being ready to do it.
Staying On Track
Scott says he usually prepares a set list, just to
kind of keep myself on track, but feeling every
moment with the audience, hes often lead to deviate
from that list into directions that the interaction
between he and the audience dictate. Its
definitely a momentary flow. The show can change at the
drop of a hat just because of where you see them being,
and then where you want to take it.
Ive started writing some blues tunes. And in
the middle of the show Ill drop one of those in.
And its so neat because it takes the audience so
out of the realm of where they are, and then I put them
back in there again. Its such a journey to take
them on. It starts the moment I open my mouth, I begin
telling the story. Its a way of weaving magic, so
by the time you get to the song, you havent told
them the whole story. Its like, now
lets step into this. So you kind of set the
stage, and while the whole journey flows together, each
song becomes its own presentation.
I talked to an old Shakespearian actor one time and
he was telling me how the best moments are when you get
off stage and think I have no recollection of the
performance. You were in such that moment. And
thats what it is; you fall into the moment with the
people youre with. And its being able to have
the command enough to know where you need to put them and
where to take them and where youre leaving them,
especially if youre opening for someone. You know,
maybe they havent come to really see me, but I want
to leave an impression and also leave them in a place
where they can easily be scooped up.
Its more about the music than the musician.
Its kind of like being egoless about the
whole thing, he said. Part of not having a
total memory of the performance is that it doesnt
build up this immense self importance. While Scott
certainly appreciates the opportunity to make money
playing music, he says its so much more than that.
I do this because I have to do it. I need to be
that expressive. The songs are so amazing to me. They
kind of come through you. Any song Ive ever done, I
look at like, oh my gosh. I can take an
objective view. But Im so hard on myself and my
performances, so it helps to know if you made an impact
on someones life.
Because of how Scott performs his show, I never
really play the same song the same way twice. I like
playing solo because of that. I can approach each song
the way I feel the flow going. That lets me be
totally fluid. It lets me come at songs in an angle
that I might never have before. And then sometimes I step
back and wonder how I did it.
He Writes The Songs
Scott started writing songs when he was sixteen.
You know, that broken heart that causes everyone to
write something down. But rhythm alone sometimes is
the inspiration for his songwriting. Ill be
goofing around on the guitar and think, I like that,
and take that rhythm and build a song around it.
Sometimes an idea comes for me in a sentence. Ive
got this song with the line, I never heard the call
to arms and now the generals gone. Its
an acapella Civil War tune. Ive got one on my new
album with the line, All my faith is gone, my
church is just a building now. Its just those
lines that grab you. These huge long sentences will come
to me, and then Ill craft a tune around the
All my songs have been emotionally successful for
me, and thats really the end all in this, he
said. You hope you can write commercially
successful songs, but emotional success is the key. They
tell such a complete tale for me that its easy for
me to fall back into the songs when I perform them.
Im amazed at my gift, its quite humbling. If
I can look back and think, Im so glad I wrote
that song, thats satisfying.
Im 45, and this is a great age to be. Its
like being able to understand what I want to say and not
stumbling as much over trying to find ways to say it.
Writing a song now is just as meaningful as it was when I
was a late teenager trying to write that love song.
Its comforting to me to incorporate my music with
my day job as an audiologist because I know Im
getting paid, and I can focus on my music without the
pressure to produce income from it.
Featuring Music of the
Shenandoah Valley, Central Virginia and the Blue Ridge.
When you advertise your Shenandoah Valley business with
Americana Rhythm you help support the musical talent of
the Valley in which we live.
Murray and Diane Schwalbach opened a private diagnosis
and treatment center in Harrisonburg Virginia
Scott Christopher Murray,
one of the Shenandoah Valley's most talented and Grammy
nominated singer/songwriters lives a double life. He is
also one of the Valley's most well known faces in the
field of Audiology. Scott has a Master's Degree in
the science of hearing loss. He and Dr. Diane
Schwalbach have opened "Audiology
Associates Of Harrisonburg, a multi-faceted private
practice in Harrisonburg, specializing in the diagnosis and
treatment of hearing loss and its associated disorders.
For example, Tinnitus or ringing in the ears, Meniere's
Disease, which affects the inner ear causing hearing loss
and balance problems, Otoschlerosis , abnormal growth of
bone in the middle or inner ear, which prevents
structures within the ear from working properly,
resulting in a gradual loss of hearing. Dr.
Schwalbach specializes in hearing loss in children and
central auditory processing testing. Dr. Schwalbach
is the only Auditory Processing specialist in the
Shenandoah Valley. Both she and Scott provide on-going
therapy services regarding this disorder. Both Dr.
Schwalbach and Scott specialize in the fitting of
all types of hearing aids with an expertise in the most
remarkably advanced technologies available today. Scott says
"not all help for the ear has to break your piggy
bank! Let us show you how easy it is to regain a
wonderful quality of life." If you are concerned
about your hearing, or the hearing of a friend or loved
one, take the time to find out more about hearing loss,
and what you can do about it. Audiology Associates
of Harrisonburg! The name to remember for honest answers,
expert advice and incredible results! - Audiology Associates of
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