“Songs are Revenge on my feelings:”Veteran


NB Musician uses songwriting to help veterans


Times & Transcript

Sarah Seeley

21 Mar 2018

Thousands of miles away from home while serving as a sonar operator in the Royal Canadian Navy, Patrick Murray pulled out his guitar and notebook to cope with the anxiety of military life.

When he wasn’t working with sonar technology aboard a patrol frigate ship, he was playing around with guitar chords or writing song lyrics about relationship struggles and the positive and negative sides of service in the navy.

Murray penned a song called “Rolling Fields” while homesick for New Brunswick. “Songs are revenge on my feelings,” he said

Fredericton psychologist Joan Wright counsels veterans with PTSD and depression.  She said it is important for them to find an activity they enjoy, like music or exercise, to use as a coping mechanism for anxiety.  When a former soldier is overwhelmed by dark thoughts, they often feel like they are trapped.  Wright said their favorite pastimes can help them escape.

“Some type of intervention has to be used to be able to calm down the brain and re-balance the nervous system,” she said.

Now Murray, 42, is using his songwriting skills to help other former military members and first responders put their emotions on paper through songwriting and creative seminars.

Murray, born in Saint John, started his musical journey as a boy in his church choir and the Kennebecasis Valley High School show choir.

He wrote his first song at age 17 after a songwriting weekend in Shampers Bluff, 60km outside of Saint John.  The workshop inspired him to keep telling stories through rhymes and melodies.

As a student he was in cadets.  When he graduated from high school in 1993, he decided to enlist in the navy.  Murray said he went through “culture shock” when he started the disciplined training.  “You don’t get to go home at the end of the summer,” he said.

Murray spent 23 years in the navy, serving in Halifax, Dartmouth, Winnipeg, Esquimalt, B.C., and Whidbey Island, Washington.

He said he was deployed to Yugoslavia and the Middle East.  Murray was also involved in OP CARIBBE, a drug-smuggling patrol mission in the Caribbean, for three months in 2013.

Songwriting was his reprieve from the structured military life, he said.  “In the military you just do what you’re told. Creative writing is you do what you want.”

Murray was discharged from the navy in 2016.  He moved to Riverview to be closer to family and focus on his music career.

While at ECMAs last year, he saw fellow musician Adam Washburn was holding songwriting workshops.

Murray decided to organize a similar workshop for veterans and first responders.  Over the past year he done done events in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton.  Murray said he battles anxiety from his time in the navy, allowing him to sympathize with those who are battling PTSD, depression and other mental illnesses.

Writing is a therapeutic way of responding to the memories that torment a soldier daily, he said.  “If you don’t try to sort it out, your mind can wander … I find when you write stuff down, it forces you to focus.”  Murray said some soldiers talked to him about their experiences and he was able to refer them to professional clinicians.

“Some people are at the point where they need to talk to somebody more than just me,” he said. Some songs Murray writes are too personal to share with people, but the rest he is comfortable performing and recording for his albums.  His second album, New Begginning’s, was released last year.  He was named a semi finalist in the 2017-18 Canadian Songwriting Competition folk category for the song “I Choose you.”

OTher New Brunswick semi-finalists include Jared Lutes and Michel Goguen from Moncton, Fredericton band Brookside Mall and Tilley Road Affair from Tracadie.

For more information about the seminars, email

Canadian Musician Magazine


Vol XXX1V No. 6 pg 78

  • 22 Nov 2017
  • by Ken Kelley

After being discharged from the Canadian Navy in 2016 following a remarkable quarter-century of service, New Brunswick’s Patrick Murray decided to embark on a new career: that of a musician.  While he had released an album while still enlisted — 2013’s Losing Sight of Shore — his newfound “freedom” meant he was now able to devote himself entirely to the craft of songwriting.

Murray’s newest album, New Beginning’s, was produced by acclaimed east coaster J.P. Cormier.  A folk music release in the vein of Stan Rogers, the album’s songs are inspired by the songwriter’s love of his country and home province, the latter of which takes centre stage in the rousing a capella track “Rolling Fields.”



Global News Oct 5 2017

Veteran turned musician Patrick Murray

Tour of tunes

Moncton musician’s military experience inspires new album, tour, with stops in N.L.

Moncton singer/songwriter Patrick Murray will be in Newfoundland next week as part of his tour to promote his new album, “New Beginnings.” A retired military man, he will also conduct a seminar in St. John’s for people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He spent years travelling the world, visiting war-torn countries as part of his military duties (deployment). Now, rising folk/country musician Patrick Murray of Moncton has retired his uniform, picked up his guitar again and is ready to focus on his passion — his music.

Promoting his new album, “New Beginnings,” Murray has embarked on an Eastern Canadian tour, with several stops in this province next week.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Murray, a navy and air force veteran, who is a huge Great Big Sea fan.

“I love Newfoundland — its beauty, the people and its ruggedness … I couldn’t have a tour without coming to Newfoundland.”

His shows in this province are set for Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook; Monday, Oct. 9, at St Gabriel’s Hall in Marystown; and on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Ship Pub in St. John’s. In his show at the Ship Pub, he will team up with local musician and composer Brett Vey.

Murray began the tour with shows in Moncton, Saint John and Charlottetown this past weekend, to be followed by shows this week in Halifax. After his performances in this province, he will also visit Fredericton for Music NB shows before heading to Montreal and Toronto.

His debut album is a 14-song soundtrack of Maritime life and life as a military veteran. The majority of his songs were written during his transition from the military last year and deal-

Patrick Murray also conducts songwriting/creative writing seminars for veterans, RCMP officers and first responders dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. He’s scheduled one of his seminars in St. John’s during his visit here. It will be held at the Oct. 10 at HMCS Cabot naval complex.

From singles “Life is Complicated,” “Heartbreak” and “Everlong,” Murray said the album is a journey of the heart and a soundtrack of his life.

“The ability to let it out comes out in my music, to write about how I feel, so it’s directly there in my music,” said Murray, whose first album, “Losing Sight of Shore” was released in 2013, but never got promoted as he would like because he got deployed to service soon after it was released.

Murray also conducts songwriting/creative writing seminars for veterans, RCMP officers and first responders dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.

He’s scheduled one of his seminars in St. John’s during his visit here. It will be held at the Oct. 10 at HMCS Cabot naval complex.

“I just wanted to provide a tool for people to help them,” said Murray, who had friends take their lives after suffering from PTSD. “If I can help one person, that’s great.”

Murray said he’s excited to begin a new chapter in his life. His new album — which he describes as “mainly folk/ country mixed with Celtic and sprinkles of pop and rock” — is produced by acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter J.P. Cormier.

“I’m pretty excited because J.P. doesn’t just take on anyone or anything. It was amazing to record and be in the studio with him. He’s so talented,” said Murray, who

“We recorded 14 songs in under a month — 14 vocal tracks in two days — and had it mastered. I’m pretty proud of that.”


Musician Patrick Murray making a stop in Corner Brook on tour

Patrick Murray Wonderstrands

Folk/country musician Patrick Murray, of Moncton, N.B., is shown performing on the Canada C3 ship in this undated photo.

A mental health advocate and educator, who uses music and creative writing to heal the wounds of post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, Murray will make a stop in Corner Brook as part of his tour in support of a new album entitled “New Beginnings.”

The debut record is a 14-song soundtrack of Maritime lift and life as a military veteran.

The Navy/Air Force veteran wrote many of the songs during his transition out of the military in 2016 as a way to deal with anxiety.

Murray will play the Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook at 8 p.m. on Oct. 7.

Songwriter releases debut album

The Guardian (Charlottetown)

30 Sep 2017

Folk/country musician Patrick Murray, based out of Moncton, N.B., lands in Charlottetown on his Maritime tour on Oct. 1 with a new album produced by JP Cormier titled “New Beginning’s”.

His debut LP is a 14-song soundtrack of Maritime life and life as a military veteran. The majority of his songs were written during his transition from the military in 2016 and dealing with anxiety.

From “Life is Complicated”, “Heartbreak” and “Everlong” Murray embarks on a journey of the heart.

The long time navy/air force veteran is excited to launch this new chapter of his life, exchanging his rifle and uniform for guitar and songs. Murray also conducts songwriting/creative writing seminars for veterans, RCMP and first responders dealing with PTSD and anxiety with workshops planned in Saint John, Halifax and St. John’s.

Murray plays Baba’s Lounge at 8 p.m., alongside P.E.I. troubadour and Music P.E.I. nominee Brian Dunn. The night will be capped off with the band Crown Lands from Ontario who is releasing its sophomore EP “Rise Over Run”. The highenergy blues-rock duo hails from Toronto.


Navy-man-turned-musician releases new Album

Ken Kelley for the Telegraph-Journal

September 28, 2017-10-30

Saint John

New Brunswick performer Patrick Murray didn’t follow a ‘typical’ path to becoming a full-time musician.

Although the Saint John native initially caught the songwriting bug while still a high school student, he spent the better part of a quarter century as a member of the Canadian navy before being discharged in 2016

Murray released his debut effort, Losing Sight of Shore, in 2013.  At the start of this year, he released his song “Rolling Fields,” a track that pays tribute to his home province and its natural beauty.

On Saturday(corrected) night at Saint Andrew and Saint David Church in Saint John, Murray is celebrating the release of his first(corrected) full-length album, New Beginning’s, a traditional folk inspired release.  Special guests at the performance will be Adam Washburn and 20-member strong a capella group Northern Voice.  The show begins at 7 p.m.

Produced by acclaimed Atlantic Canadian musician J.P. Cormier.  Murray says the album’s 14 songs came together in the studio in a little under a month.

“At the outset of the project, I felt that these songs were among the strongest I’ve written, so I wanted to be sure they were matched with the right producer.” Murray says.  “I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than J.P.  He was just wonderful to work with.

“This whole year has served as a reminder to chase your dreams.  Life is short, there are no repeats and no redos.   It might not always be perfect but it certainly is a blessing to be in a position where I’m able to make music and have it heard by a wide audience.”

This past summer, Murray had the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event when he was invited to join the Canada C3 cultural sailing project.  Comprised of 15 legs that take place over 150 days, each leg of the trip unites scientists, artists, historians, community leaders and more.

The C3 journey kicked off in Toronto at the start of June and is due to conclude in Victoria just before Halloween.  Murray’s participation in the event was during the fifth leg of the expedition that sailed from St. John’s through Nain, the northernmost settlement in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It was such a great project to have been involved in.” Murray says.  “We had the opportunity to meet so many different people, share stories, do some fishing, and just be inspired by our surroundings.  One of the most memorable aspects of the journey for me was just how well everyone got along, and how open those people on the ship were to singing and spending time together.  There were many different occasions where it felt as though the ship was being powered by song.  It was remarkable.”

While Murray is tremendously proud of each of the songs featured on his new album, he is looking forward to having Northern Noice join him for the performance of “Rolling Fields” and another new song.  “Together,” written in the aftermath of the Ottawa shootings of 2014.

“Both of those songs are rather special to me and I am excited to be able to give them the treatment I feel they deserve on Saturday(corrected) night.”

New Music from Patrick Murray Radio Interview on CBC show Shift

Vanessa Vander Valk

Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

Patrick Murray has gone from the military to the stage. He talks about his journey and we spin a tune from his new album.

NB Musician heads on a “once in a lifetime” cultural exhibition

Morgan Bokneck for the Times Transcript

Sunday the 9th July 2017

When Moncton musician Patrick Murray found out about a musical residency onboard a boat sailing across Canada, he immediately signed up.

“I got a call when I was in studio, and I think I yelled in someone’s ear.  I was pretty excited to be on it.” He said

The Canada C3 is a cultural sailing project taking place in 15 legs over 150 days to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of Confederation.

Each leg of the trip will have different scientists, artists, indigeneous Elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators onboard.  They will anchor in different communities to do research, create art and perform music, according to the C3 website.

The C3 journey started in Toronto on June 1, heads through the Northwest Passage, and will finish up in Victoria on October 28.  Murray will be the fifth leg of the expedition, which kicks off in St John’s, Newfoundland, sailing through the Narrows and along Iceberg Alley.  Finishing up in Nain, the north most Nunatisavut settlement in the province.

Murray and his shipmates will be visiting indigenous communities and national parks along their way.  He said he hopes there are still some icebergs at this time of year, and he upgraded his phone camera just in case.

Murray, originally from Saint John, said when he found out his childhood hero, Canadian children’s musician Fred Penner, would be on the same leg as him, it just added to his excitement.

“I just remember growing up and seeing him on TV.  He always had those catchy songs and wholesome advice for kids, and here he is, still doing music.”

“If we get the same cabin, I hope he doesn’t snore,” said Murray with a laugh.

Murray is a retired Navy/Airforce(corrected) Veteran, who said he now uses music as a way to cope with anxiety(corrected).  He put out his first album “Losing Sight of Shore” in 2013 while still in the military, working on counter drug enforcement operations in Caribbean, according to his website.  He said next album will be out in the fall.

For a year after the album’s release, Murray said all proceeds from one of the album’s songs will be donated to The Humanity Project, a nonprofit that feeds Moncton’s homeless.  Murray said he admires the selflessness and dedication of the charity.

“Being in the military, you know about that, because it’s all about the other person, you’re serving your country.  It’s about something greater than yourself..”

Upon the album’s release, a 20 piece a capella group will get together in Saint John to sing one of the songs, Rolling Fields, which is about New Brunswick.

Murray said that music is an integral part of Canadian identity, and that being part of this “once in a lifetime” sailing journey with other creative people is something he’s really looking forward to.

“It’s really cool to be part of something that may never happen again.  Never again will there be a 150th anniversary.  This is it.”

Murray sets off on the Canada C3 on July 12, and will arrive in Nain on July 22.  The Canada C3 is an initiative of the Students on ice Foundation which has led exhibtions through the Arctic and Antarctic since 2000


Ken Kelley for the Telegraph-Journal

Tuesday 31 January 2017

After spending almost a quarter century as part of the Canadian Navy, Saint John native Patrick Murray is taking some time for himself.  And what better way to keep himself busy than with music.

As Murray is making plans to record the follow-up effort to his 2013 debut Losing Sight of Shore, Murray has released a single, “Rolling Fields,” which pays tribute to his home province.  The song’s lyrics, sung in an acapella format, paint a vivid, year-round picture of the province’s landscape, name-checking various locales along the way.

“When I wrote ‘Rolling Fields,’ I had thought it would be a bold move to perform the song acapella, which I felt would allow listeners to really focus on what I’m saying with the song’s lyrics.  I’m hoping my love for the place I grew up shines through,” Murray shares.

It was while he was in high school that Murray caught the song writing bug, nurturing his knack for crafting original material in the 23 years he spent in the navy while also travelling the world in a variety of capacities.

“In addition to flying for four years with the Sea Kings, the bulk of my time was spent in the navy doing tours overseas,” he shares, noting said tours in Yugoslavia and the Middle East, among other places.

Murray notes his long, fruitful career with the military came to a close when he was placed on medical leave in 2014 and subsequently discharged last year.  In that two year span, Murray faced a series of personal changes, including divorce, but music proved to be a constant refuge of sorts for him.

“I’m a firm believer that to appreciate the good in life, you have to live through challenging and dark times,” he says.

“In the last two years, I have written what I feel is some of the best songs of my life.  For me, music is about building connections with the audience.  There is no greater gift than someone identifying with or finding something that speaks to them personally with my songs.”



‘Hopeful inspiration’ behind song for Rehtaeh Parsons in new CD


A compilation CD of music by Atlantic Canadian artists in support of suicide prevention training will include a track dedicated to Rehtaeh Parsons.

Living for Today is the creation of local musicians Wanda Rose Milne and Keith MacNeil, written by Milne after a major life upheaval that included the loss of both parents.

     “The song is hopeful inspiration, about always being in your moment and not going to the bad place,” said Milne from her Chezzetcook home Wednesday.

Milne said it’s the message of hope that prompted her to offer it to Compassion Action for the “Life Support” CD.

     “Now every time I sing it, Rehtaeh’s name will be on it. It’s her tune now,” she said.

Milne also reached out to Rehateh’s father, Glen Canning, who will be the guest of honour at the CD launch at Big Leagues on June 1.

     Rehtaeh took her own life in early April, two years after being allegedly gang-raped and then bullied by classmates when a photo of the incident was distributed via social media.

Police are currently investigating the allegations.

The project coordinator for Compassion Action says the double CD features tracks donated by Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Hebb, Patrick Murray, Heather Green, Pretty Archie, Jon Mullane and several others.

     “We were really moved by how many people wanted to be involved, wanted to do something positive,” said Tylluan O’Shannon.

     O’Shannon said the CD was in the works before Rehtaeh’s death, but the tragedy has drawn additional attention to the issues of teen suicide and child sex abuse.

She said she hopes that results in more positive action among members of the public.

“The bottom line is, we want to educate people and we want people to say, instead of getting upset after a tragic event, let’s prevent it from happening in the first place,” said O’Shannon. “This CD can literally save lives, it can fund us to go anywhere where people are willing to accept the training and … learn how to be a life saver.”


Pat Healey

May 2013

“WELLINGTON: Rock/roots pop music fans in the Fall River area you’re in luck, two musicians who perform those genre of music are coming to the area—and both are can’t miss acts. Patrick Murray and The Contenders will perform their hit Folk Rock/Roots Pop music during what they hope is the first of many visits to the Wellington/Fletcher’s Lake Fire Hall on May 11, beginning at 9 p.m. Rock/Blues guitarist ‘Rockin Dan’ will hit the stage first as the opening act.”

CD pick: Patrick Murray


April 3, 2013 – 3:38pm
April 3, 2013 – 5:14pm

Losing Sight Booklet Page 1.jpg

Patrick Murray


The Wax isn’t the only local act with a new CD this weekend; roots-pop songwriter Patrick Murray launches his Losing Sight of Shore EP with his band the Contenders on Friday night at Rockbottom Brew Pub.

The Saint John native and Royal Canadian Navy member comes by his title’s seagoing metaphor honestly, and there’s a Maritime air in the title track’s bagpipe and Goodbye My Friend’s tin whistle. But Celtic is just a fraction of his sound, as he contrasts his love of the sea and his home and native land with more personal stories sung with direct emotional clarity.

You can also see Murray and the Contenders this morning on CTV Morning Live, with more dates coming in May at the Wellington-Fletchers Lake Fire Hall (near Fall River) on May 11, Trellis Cafe in Hubbards on May 18 and Dartmouth’s Cafe Bree on May 28. For more details visit