Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Music has been the one thing I could always do no matter what else was happening in my life. I remember BB King telling me, backstage before a concert, that playing music for a living didn't leave much room or time for family. My career took its toll on mine over the years. My life took a major turn for the better when Andie and I married. She has brought me peace and acceptance through her love and friendship and held my hand on the road to healing, walked me to faith and is dragging me toward learning to really live life. She is the most unselfish person I have ever met. She is my inspiration. She is my love.
The last several years have held a lot of trials for us in the day to day life in general. Andie's health has been an especially challenging trial. Walking With Jesus came from that experience. For the last 5 years I have studied digital recording and the art of midi. Andie has studied photography and graphic art. Now Andie and I are working together to make Silent T Studios a source of livelihood and as a means of making a difference in our community and the world. As a producer I have the opportunity to help artists bring their songs to fruition. Using my skills as a song writer and producer, along with Andie's skills at photography and graphic art, we help turn artistic concepts into great CD's. It has been a long road to this point, let's look back.
Photo by Andie Murat
Music has always been a part of me. According to my dad, Joseph, I began singing songs acapella to the sunset when I was a little boy. I get a mental picture. I come from a long line of musicians that include my dad, and his two brothers John and Frank. I grew up listening to them play jazz on and off stage. My father was a bandmaster in the army for many years. My professional musical career started at age 15 playing drums in night clubs 5 nights a week. I played in bands all through high school. One of my favorites was a band called the Emeralds. We played Motown. I lived in Kansas at the time and we played some very rough clubs. I remember one night while tuning my drums a man fired a shot at the back of someone leaving the club. When I looked around I saw guns in the hands of nearly everyone in the place. I retired from the band after that and from gigging altogether for a while. After high school came Vietnam. More guns. I romped off to Southeast Asia at age 18 and I served for 6 months as a "grunt" in the infantry in the jungles of the Central Highlands. I sum up that experience in the song Lost In Vietnam. For the second half of my time in Vietnam I played drums in a metal rock group called The Joint Chiefs of Staff. We played Rock for soldiers in remote outposts where no other entertainers would go. We were flown in by helicopter to artillery bases that were subject to shelling and gun fire during our performances. It is probably no coincidence that to this day I get quite anxious prior to any musical performance. It was during that time I began singing and playing guitar. Through the eighties and nineties I played guitar and sang as a single act and with various musicians. One of my favorite intermittent bands early in my career consisted of Michael Spiro on percussion and Dale Fuentes on flute. I was auditioning at the Admiral's Mistress and Dale was tending bar when we first met. He came out from behind the bar and blew me away with his flute. That was the beginning of a long lasting respect and friendship. The music in that period of time was great fun.
Photo by Andie Murat
My first gig singing and playing guitar was Ricardo's in Everett. It was a great club for acoustic music and lots of players passed through that room: Boy Meets Girl, Carry Thompsen and BLT were all playing the circuit at that time. Andie and I originally met there years before we got together. That is also where I met Jamie Phalen, who was the other half of what was to become The Banana Brothers and we sang together off and on for nearly two decades. Saxophonist Doug Hamilton joined the Banana Brothers fray for a time and we wrote some great songs together. Scott MacGougan, Jimmy Culler and Dale Fuentes were part of the bigger Banana Brothers. Jimmy Culler has developed into a fine bassist and we still perform together often. He developed his playing sitting in with me for many years. From time to time Mike Daily joins us on drums. Mike has established Studio 0 Four and is busy recording talented local artists and we work together in the studio as often as possible. After the Banana Brothers broke up Scott MacGougan and I decided to record an album and the band reformed for a time. The album is available on CD and is called GONE TO YESTERDAY. I was back to a solo act again not long after that. So many of the old rooms have gone by the wayside; Ricardo's, the Odyssey, the Meatmarket and Bickfords. For a time I performed and recorded in a duo with the gifted singer, Deirdre Lord Fairfax. Tom Hall said "That's a million dollar voice" when he heard her sing. It was a great vocal duo and we made one CD before the group disbanded, that CD is A ROOM WITH A VIEW. It is an excellent album produced by Larry Mason and mastered by Tom Hall and recorded at Garey Shelton's studio. The CD consists of ten songs with alternate lead vocals and some great Seattle musicians like John Goforth, Dave Raynor, Scott MacGougan, Garey Shelton and Chris Leighton. Several boxes of the CD's have been donated to raise money at benefits for women's shelters and victims of violent crimes and a young man we lost to cancer. Scott MacGougan continues to be an inspiration and a life long friend.
I continue to play in clubs, concerts in the area and to open concerts at places like the Gorge and the Moore Theater here in Washington State. I have also played concerts at Bumber Shoot, The Taste of Edmonds, The Folklife Festival, Tumble Weed Festival, local colleges and my favorite, until it ceased to exist, morning concerts at the Garlic Festival. One of my most rewarding performances took place at Harbor View Medical Center in the ICU for my friend Phil Randoy. I played eight hours of guitar instrumentals. He, thank you God, has recovered and is back out there entertaining the masses whenever and wherever he can.
I've had my best and worst times playing music and have had the opportunity to be in some beautiful places like the Caribbean Islands and places I wouldn't go now for any reason. I still continue to play as often as possible although I spend more time at home in the studio than playing. God has kept me alive through some incredible experiences and I believe for a purpose. That purpose is to help shine His light on what has become, in many ways, a dark world and to create hope and awareness through music as a singer song writer, producer and recordist.
My songs come from my own experiences and from watching people around me. They are all gifts from God. They just arrive sometimes when I sit with my guitar or piano. Other times I have to work and work to make them come together and even then with varying degrees of success. But I finish nearly every song I start.
Most of my life I have looked at the world through the eyes of a poet. As an artist, I often have felt like an alien visitor to the planet. I am more glad to be here since Andie. Two is better than one. The kids are nearly all on their own and scattered from California, to Seattle, to India and they are making music or art. I have made some great friends over the years playing music and my favorite times are when we get together to play and sing. They are often the inspiration for songs as well. Life has been an adventure for sure. I just need more hours in the day to play and write songs. Days seem to fly by and ever faster as the years pass.
Andie and I are excited by the potential music has to make a difference in the world. I have written so many songs about life and love personal to me but as time goes by I feel drawn more towards the bigger picture. It may become increasingly more challenging to make money at music, but at the heart of the matter, that is not what it's really all about.
We think artistically in terms of the world. The globe is open to new musical ideas and art and we plan to partner with artists, distributors and licensers to get positive independent music and art out to the eyes and ears of the world where it belongs.
As we go, we seek inner peace through faith and artistic expression.
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Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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