Heavy metal fans don't read on - this is not the Whitesnake bassist or the battered boxer.

It's a double CD retrospective of a bush-bred bloke who champions eels - not snakes - and hosted a recent lakeside festival and Hopkins River trek for such passions.

Murray was reared on a farm at Lake Bolac due north of a not so cryptically named Mortlake in the guts of the Western District wheat and sheep belt.
And it was there, in an era where TV was a rarity, his musical awakening came from eclectic bush AM radio stations that are now cheap cogs in a corporate chain.

Although artists diverse as Happening Thang, Adam Brand and Christine Anu cut his songs the sources of the singer's catalogue reaches back to a more organic era.

A time when his subjects lived off the land and blazed trails unseen in the big smoke.

Murray, like geographical and spiritual peer Shane Howard, has thrown the spoils of an outback journey, beginning in 1978, into a cathartic cauldron.

On the first disc he reaches to 1989 for indigenous idol Cleverman and the title track of debut album Calm & Crystal Clear at the start of his journey.

The sardonic Big Truck precedes environmental eulogy Native Born and Broken Song - a tune rooted in the religious fervour used to justify all sorts of evils.


There's the anthemic Eddy Mabo, footy metaphor of Tom Wills Would (Geelong fares better in 2005 than Wills' other team Edenhope in the heart of Tjapwurrung Country) and reconciliation tune Myall Creek.

Murray is known for social comment but smart sequencing ensures punctuation by rollicking wanderlust songs such as Far Away and Good Light In Broome, outback exploration parody Menindee and romance requiems Late This Night and Ocean Of Regret.

The bonus CD features live cuts from as far afield as Perth, Fremantle, Macquarie University, Richmond and the long lamented Prince Patrick in Collingwood.

Highlights include collaborations with Anu on One More Mile from 1992 and Johnny Grey from 1993 and five piece vocals without her on My Island Home in 2003.

Murray deserves praise for a career longevity fuelled by living beyond the fame game, condensing a 20-year plus career in two discs.

The singer joins an Aussie posse performing at the 9th Australian Music Festival in Nashville from September 6-11.

Also on the bill are expatriates Catherine Britt and The Greencards and spring exports Felicity, Sam Hawksley and Ross Wilson.

The spotlight will be on the festival with Britt cracking the U.S. Top 40 with her duet with Elton John on her song When We Both Say Goodbye.

The Greencards are also a hot item after tours opening for Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Kasey Chambers.

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