Talented young island musician says music is in his blood

CAMPOBELLO – Landen Murray may only be 17-years-old, but his musical abilities are far beyond his years. Murray plays about a dozen different instruments, and has a voice most singers would kill to have. Coming from a long line of musicians, it’s no wonder that Murray is as skilled as he is at such a young age. His great-grandparents on his father’s side immigrated to Lubec, Maine from Ireland, and they kept the family tradition of music alive.

“My grandfather on my father’s side, and my father, were always musical their entire lives,” said Murray. “My last name, Murray, is the family from Ireland. They came to Lubec not that long ago. It was my grandfather’s parents that came from Ireland. They were so poor when they first came they would eat frozen apples on the way to school. Ever since, my Murray family has been very closely bonded by music. It goes back generations.”

Murray has been playing the guitar for about six years. Just two years ago he began playing the piano, and from the way he plays, one would think he had been taking lessons his entire life. He also plays the pipe organ, violin, viola, mandolin, accordion, banjo, and bass. He said he plays a little bit of clarinet, and he has “dabbled in the ukulele”.

“The old banjo is quite fun. It was a lot easier than I figured it would be. It’s definitely its own class, for sure.”

Murray said his ultimate dream would be to have a career in the music industry. He and friend Declan Seeley have a YouTube channel where they post videos of themselves playing their music, which is heavily influenced by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and Robbie Robertson of The Band.

“If I could make a living from music, I can’t even find the words to explain how wonderful that would make me feel,” said Murray.

Now that he is heading into Grade 12 this fall, Murray is thinking more and more about his future. He said he would love to go to a university to study music, and he would also be interested in studying engineering because he really enjoys calculus.

“I think that Mount Allison has a great music program, and they have a chapel there with a huge pipe organ.”

When asked if he has had opportunities to speak with representatives from recording companies, Murray said it is difficult to get people with “any significance” to go to Campobello. But, in no way has that deterred his dream of becoming a professional musician and singer. He had an opportunity to perform at Fogfest with Nick Gay, who has toured with many popular recording artists, including Tom Cochrane, and said he was thrilled to be able to do it.

“That’s why they wanted me to have this job, so that I could meet him and get some exposure.”

Murray said he can’t thank everyone enough for all of the compliments he has received about his music. He said it is comments like those which give him the courage to “keep on keeping on” and continue to work toward his goals.

“It wouldn’t matter if one person was there or a million. I’d still be ecstatically happy that anyone bothered to come and see me. It’s little things in life like that that make it so wonderful to be alive.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca