Songwriter and pianist Hugh Scott Murray from Tuncurry on the NSW mid-north coast has been busy. He spent most of last year travelling around regional Australia, playing music in community halls and paddocks off the back of his rusty, musical trailer. His “multi-platform Odyssey” Roll or Rust is about “celebrating Australia and her people”. Murray has welded his childhood piano, named Tilly to the back of his trailer from where he performs for rural audiences.
Murray’s philosophy is “culture starts from the grassroots”. He connects with rural communities through his music, engaging with stories and people from the places he visits. The ABC’s Radio National chronicled Murray’s musical journey last year, interviewing him along his travels.
The vein of life through music is rich and deep
Murray‘s other projects include The Big Ol Bus; a group of ten musicians, getting around regional Australia on their Big Ol Bus, playing “New Orleans swing n roots” at jazz festivals. He also plays with the Stomping Ivories band with Greg Agar and Murray Sheridan, made up of two grand pianos and a drum kit. His song writing credits are impressive, co-writing with Keith Urban, INXS, soul legend Lou Rawls, Cold Chisel’s Don Walker and Bob Welch of Fleetwood Mac.
Radio National’s Kerry Stewart, in a story about Murray’s various musical projects, observed how the band engaged with its audiences, bringing on a sense of nostalgia. She imagined a bygone era of community events, where everyone sang along to their favourite songs.
Murray has recorded his musical experiences along the way. He has a host of interviews and videos of local musicians he has met, festivals he has played at, and bands he has played with. Murray explains his Roll or Rust project “is about finding the music and true life stories that resonate below top 40 radio”, where the Australian landscape plays a big part.
For more information on Murray’s musical projects and where he’s travelling to next, check out his website.