Music

For rocker Evan Murray, music is where the heart is

Evan Murray   | Photo Credit: Joseph Fernandez

Evan Murray has the thoughtful look of the twice-returned traveller in Thiruvananthapuram. It is the look of a visitor who returns to the city again and again to discover it just like the first time. Manderlay, the iconic heritage home in Poojapura, offers Evan the perfect place for that state of mind. Its verdant estate offers him the space to talk about music and one amazing leap of faith that changed everything for him and Kerala’s rock music scene.

Evan is a singer-songwriter who is a creative force behind the Indo-Canadian collaborative Lazie Bison based out of the city. Evan traces his lineage to a musically rich heritage of Irish immigrants who were rooted in the small community of Marystown, Newfoundland, on Canada’s cold east coast. Growing up in the north-western prairies of Alberta, Evan dug deep into his family heritage of blue-collared livelihoods and musical roots to become a lifelong musician. Alberta is a hub of North America’s oil industry and Evan sums up his growing-up years in a lyrical expression, worthy of a rock anthem: “The smell of diesel in winter!”

Evan began as a touring drummer and then evolved into a singer-songwriter and guitarist. Along the way, he became a sound engineer, recording and engineering various albums and projects. Then, he turned entrepreneur when he set up his own studio in his hometown. In Canada, Evan is best known for his band, Marystown. The gruelling years of being a touring musician with his band in North America and Europe taught Evan to don many roles — and to wear them lightly. His Lazie Bison bandmate and guitarist John Anthony observes that Evan is a master of all the roles he picked up along the way: singer, songwriter, drummer, guitarist, entrepreneur, sound engineer, studio owner and now, a global connector of music experiences.

“Music is the only thing that ever really made sense to me,” Evan reminiscences about his first high-school band, emulating the spirit of Seattle’s grunge rock acts like Nirvana in the early 1990s. “The years of trying to do something and building relationships led to a global network of music acts that now spans North America, Europe and now Asia!”

Evan sees his musical career marked by three phases: Marystown, Lazie Bison and notably, Live at Heart. He describes the evolution of the sound of his music thus: “Marystown was a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll and a whole lot more in-between these lines. Lazie Bison is 100% rock!” Live at Heart, based in Sweden, is one of Scandinavia’s biggest showcase festivals and industry conferences. It showcases music acts, bringing creative professionals together to inspire, learn and create together.

Evan Murray

Evan Murray   | Photo Credit: Joseph Fernandez

And then there’s Evan’s musical leap of faith that spans over 12,000 kilometres — from Edmonton, Canada, to Thiruvananthapuram. It all began with a Facebook request from the city-based musician Jay Pillai, who was looking to collaborate with an artiste of his experience.

In early 2018, Murray took that leap, travelling to do what he did best — write and perform music. He flew to the city after 18 months of communication to set up Lazie Bison, the rock band that brought together city-based musicians John Anthony, Jay Pillai, Manoj Pillai and Rahul CR for a series of sold-out concerts across Kerala, culminating in an astounding concert at Kappa TV’s Mojo Rising in Kochi last year. The experience of working with Lazie Bison was an eye-opener. Evan was amazed by the level of professionalism he experienced while working with Lazie Bison and the promoters, Wonderwall Media.

“I mean, it began with all of us trying to do something”, says Evan. “We began by building relationships. Now we have a global network. I have to say there’s real power in helping people!”

Lazie Bison’s success prompted music companies in North America and Europe to connect with Evan. As an international consultant at Wonderwall Media (founded by Sumesh Lal), Evan is using his network to introduce music acts from across the world. Wonderwall Media also plans to look at the promotion of home-grown bands like Thaikkudam Bridge at some of the largest music festivals in the US and Canada. Riding the crest of the same network, Lazie Bison will perform in the year ahead at East Asia and Northern Europe’s most coveted stages.

For Evan, it is song-writing that is closest to his heart. You will hear that certain yearning for a perfect reality in songs like ‘Shining Soul’, ‘Butterfly’ and, notably, ‘The Train Song’, co-written with his Lazie Bison bandmates. There’s a moment from ‘The Train Song’ sums up the moment: “Yesterdays are gone/ Tomorrow is yet to come/ Dusky evening sun tries hard to hide his face away/ I’m moving on.../ And the show is all over and the song still remains/ I feel a little happy inside, feel a little sad/ I’m moving on....”

And what of the future? The spotlight shines bright on all of Evan’s music endeavours in 2019. For now, Lazie Bison has 27 songs, six EPs and two cinematic videos lined up for release through Wonderwall Media. It’s been an incredible journey spanning three continents for Evan. Sitting at Poojappura, Evan knows exactly where it all begins: At the Heart of Live Music.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 11:12:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/singer-songwriter-evan-murrays-leap-of-faith-saw-him-hop-continents-and-collaborate-with-city-based-musicians/article26014941.ece

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