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A little bit about me!

Heres the "short press" version:

Murray Atkinson is a multi-instrumentalist comfortable performing as an instrumentalist or guitarist / vocalist. Loving the energy and fire of guitar-driven hard rock, his forte is powerful guitar riffs and huge sounding songs that have intense energy and pay homage to his interesting mix of 90’s and 70s era roots and influences. Currently working on material that would find a home in a 90s Seattle nightclub or alongside a modern Jeff Beck playlist, his composition skills on guitar are much broader than can be defined by any one genre and stretches well into familiar yet refreshing territory.

And a little more indepth history...

I come from a very musical family. My Dad plays piano / guitar, Grandfather played piano, Great Grandfather played trumpet, and it continues on through ancestors Ive never met! I myself have played piano since age 4, I did 15 years of Classical lessons (RCM Grade 9 if you're curious), played guitar since I was 10, started creating my own little compositions around age 11, got a 4-track recorder and a drum machine when I was 14, and started writing actual songs. By the time I was finished high school I knew what I wanted to do so I enrolled in Music College in Nanaimo, BC and did 2 years in the Classical and Jazz programs. Joined my first band at age 18 playing rock covers at College dances and then started gigging around Nanaimo with whoever would hire me. By then all I did in my spare time was practice and write new material, during my 2nd year of College I was practicing 6 hours a day on average. Didn't go to a whole lot of parties but I knew a whole lotta licks! 


Fast-forward to 1994 and my band Playground released our first CD, recorded at Yaletown Sound in Vancouver. It was an eye-opening experience and unfortunately I didn't last long in that band, I was fired about 6 months later since my rhythm playing kinda sucked. So I dusted off the old drum machine and got to work on my timing, joined another cover band, traveled around for a few more years, taught guitar on the side, kept on writing and cataloging ideas with the intent of one day putting together an album or two.

Fast-forward again to 1999 and I landed a great gig playing guitar with Chin Injeti (Bass is Base) in his solo project. It was Funk Immersion 101 for me and I learned more about rhythm in those 2 years than any other period. We were actually roommates and shared a house in Vancouver with another buddy. I played on a bunch of Chin's demos, eventually on his album Daydreaming, and during this time he turned me on to all kinds of fantastic Soul / R&B I never knew about. For me as a musician things started to gel. The rock music I was writing developed a new feel, a new dimension, it grew more vibrant and less stale. I never knew I was missing it until I had it and could see the difference a little funk can make in your writing and your life. Things were getting better.

Skip ahead to 2003 and I got a house gig in Vancouver with a small revolving door of musicians, 2 of whom previously played in The Odds. Doug Elliott and Pat Steward were the part-time full-time rhythm section for Brit-Rock Radio One Thursdays at the Cellar on Granville St and it was an absolute blast every Thursday... we crushed the place and it started becoming a cool, happening scene. We played all the usual British Rock covers from classic to modern (Beatles, Bowie, Coldplay, Radiohead, Oasis, The Who, Blur, etc) but we played them with an underground punk energy, super-charged, amped-up, fueled by Jaggerbombs, Tequila and Stella. Most nights by the time we finished I had no voice left and was bleeding from some finger somewhere, usually from pounding the guitar so hard. That ended in 2006 but by then the seeds were sewn and when The Odds decided to re-band in 2007 I was offered the gig and took it.

Around the same time I was being encouraged to enter the local battle of the bands CFox Seeds Competition, so I submitted a demo and ended up winning Seeds 2007. I received a nice little prize package and used that to kickstart the recording of an album that ended up taking a few years to finish and was eventually released in September of 2010. I dubbed the project "Swan" and called the album "Salt March." I ended up signing a deal with an indie label in Toronto called Pheromone Records who also had recently signed The Odds and we released it in Canada. It got a little radio airplay, mostly local, one song called Unfamiliar made the CFox Top 10 for about 6 weeks, peaking at #4. It was an exciting time but ultimately I couldn't keep the project together, I was paying for everything, hiring musicians to play live, and eventually it gradually faded and folded. I was fairly busy with The Odds through this time and it just made sense to focus on something that was running on all cylinders and functioning properly.

The Odds have done some pretty amazing gigs over the past 12 years Ive been with them. We toured across Canada, played many Juno-fests, traveled on the CP Rail Holiday Train multiple times coast to coast, cruised the Caribbean with The Barenaked Ladies Ships n Dips cruises, got to be the Vancouver Canucks House Band during their insane 2011 run for the Stanley Cup, playing in the arena at every home game and getting to witness first-hand one of Vancouver's most exciting sports runs ever. We also play with Steven Page (formerly of Barenaked Ladies) for his solo project and I get to play mostly keyboards on that gig, which I dont get the chance to do often amd love playing keys whenever I can. 

In 2012 I won the Hard Rock / Alternative Category of the 2012 USA Songwriting Competition. That was a nice surprise to be recognized outside the usual borders. Canada is a big country but the music industry is really quite small!


Anyways I kept on writing. Always writing and cataloging ideas. Never stop writing and creating. One day there will be a place for it, and nice to have a big stack of music to pull from when that day arrives:)


Oh I forgot to mention, I also do a bit of composing for game developers and have amassed a library of over 300 tracks spanning multiple genres, check out the collections and packs available here:

VGM Library

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