My Personal Journey – By Murray McDowell
This is this first in an occasional series we will have giving an insight, from the
artist’s perspective, into the story behind an album, a great song, a reunion,
a pivotal musical event. Murray McDowell has just released ‘Summer Moon’
(Reviewed here in MT in the CD section). Here he shares the journey that brought him to make that album – TFK editor.
‘Firstly, let me say that the ramblings below are in no way looking for “the sympathy vote”, they are purely statements of fact.
So, “The Journey Begins”…… a bit late in life, I hear you say, to be starting a major journey. But never mind the old saying, “life’s a journey, not a destination” – for me, every day has become a journey.
A bit of background first, just so you know where I’m coming from.
I am a 53 year old man who has had a love affair with all things guitar since my Dad bought me one for my 8th Christmas. Self-taught (like so many of us), I just plugged away and probably (I hope) developed some sort of style of my own. To abbreviate a lot, I gigged away with various bands, and in various genres from age 16 ……. Mostly covers, but always trying to add some of my own material when I could.
I was lucky enough to become a proud father of 2 fine sons, born 8 years apart, so for quite a while, my music took a back seat in order to do the “breadwinner” thing.
When my boys had grown up a bit, I returned to gigging again. The scene had changed, but thankfully the fellow musicians hadn’t. Different faces maybe, but still the same passion and drive for our art.
Then the unthinkable happened.
In June of 2011 I got a phone call from the Gardai in Dublin to ask me to come down to identify my youngest boy, Jamie’s, body.
My world crumbled around me. I spiraled into depression and self-loathing. Nothing mattered anymore. I used to take great comfort in my guitars, now there was no comfort there for me. I would stare at them as if they were strangers to me.
All my family and friends were fantastic through this dark time…….without them I firmly believe my sanity would have left me. And also the wonderful work of the Cruse Bereavement Centre in Belfast, who were a really big help to me while I was in my blackest hours.
So, after a long period, almost 10 months, of this, I started to pick up my guitar again and write some words down. Now you may expect that writing songs during this period of my life would lead to some really dark lyrics…….but actually, it was quite the opposite! I surprised even myself by coming up with songs of love and hope and joy !
My new album “Summer Moon” holds my whole being from this time of transition……song by song it is a journey through trouble and realization. There is the joy of “This Song”, which was written one morning when I actually felt that I knew who I was again. Through to “The Day After Forever”, the revelation that I could function as Murray and still be bereaved.
The journey begins…….yes, it has begun……it may well never end……but at least my sat-nav is working!’
Check out Murray’s MT video channel at – http://musicianstogether.com/user/murraymcdowell
And the review of ‘Summer moon’ – http://musicianstogether.com/magazine/2012/04/22/summer-moon-by-murray-mcdowell-cd-review-2/
Category: Artist/Band Spotlight