McLauchlan's early folk following was soon augmented by a growing country audience. "Farmer's Song" brought him Juno Awards for folk and country singles and as composer of the year in 1973. Several of his songs have been popular on country radio - eg, "Shoeshine Workin' Song" (1974), "Maybe Tonight" (1975), "Down by the Henry Moore" (1975), "Never Did Like that Train" (1983), "Red River Flood" and "Railroad Man" (1984), "I'm Best at Lovin' You" (1986) and "Love with a Capitol 'L'" (1989). Other songs have been more successful in the pop mainstream - eg, "Hurricane of Change" (1973), "Linda Won't You Take Me In" (1974), "Do You Dream of Being Somebody" and "Little Dreamer" (1975), and "Whispering Rain" (1979). McLauchlan also dallied with rock 1976-7 with the Silver Tractors and again in 1981 with the Lincolns.
The McLauchlan Style
Irrespective of these stylistic variables, which have been recurring rather than successive motifs in his work, his songwriting has remained constant to the folk tradition. Greg Quill (Toronto Star, 8 Oct 1983) noted, "over the years, his patently populist approach has endeared him to a solid working-class audience" and referred to McLauchlan's "lean, streetwise narratives, of which the finest examples are 'Farmer's Song,' 'Honky Red' and 'Down by the Henry Moore' - all genuine urban folksongs..." McLauchlan's early singing style was characterized by a degree of reverse affectation, a toughness and twang that corresponded with his view of, and from, the underclass. His later songs and singing grew more personal in tone.
Career 1984 - Present
For CBC radio's "Simply Folk" in 1984 McLauchlan prepared the 13-week "Timberline" series of original songs about Canada's unsung heroes - a trapper, tugboat operator, aviation pioneer, etc. The songs were included on the LP Heroes. He returned to the hinterland theme for the CBC TV travelogue/music video Floating Over Canada (for which he piloted the aircraft) in 1985. McLauchlan was subsequently host 1989-94 for CBC radio's "Swinging on a Star," devoted to Canadian songs and songwriters.
From about 1996 to 2000, McLauchlan stepped away from the music business, later returning to tour Ontario with the Everly Brothers, then reappearing at such folk venues as the 2005 Mariposa Folk Festival. His stage musical, Eddie, premiered 26 May 2004 at Hudson, Quebec. Released in 2006, the album The Songbook... New Arrivals featured songs from the musical. As part of the group Lunch at Allen's with Marc Jordan, Ian Thomas and Cindy Church, McLauchlan has produced two albums, Lunch at Allen's (2004) and Catch the Moon (2007). Deeply committed to the art of songwriting and to creators' rights, he has served on the boards of SOCAN, the Songwriters' Association of Canada, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. McLauchlan is married to music executive Denise Donlon, and has held a commercial aircraft pilot's licence.
McLauchlan's Most Successful Songs
Murray McLauchlan's own "Farmer's Song" has been recorded by Ocean Fancy, Walter Ostanek, Merv Smith, and R. Harlan Smith; other McLauchlan titles have appeared on albums by David Bromberg, Judy Lander, John McDermott, Bob Neuwirth, Three's A Crowd, and David Wiffen. His "If the Wind Could Blow My Troubles Away" was chosen as the worldwide theme song in 1981 for the International Year of Disabled Persons. In 1994, SOCAN awarded McLauchlan its Classics award for 100,000 airplays of "Whispering Rain." His "Burned Out Car" won the 1997 Juno for best video, by Junkhouse.
Murray McLauchlan. 1972. True North TN-9
Day to Day Dust. 1973. True North TN-14
Sweeping the Spotlight Away. 1974. True North TN-18
Only the Silence Remains. 1975. True North GTN-19
Boulevard. 1976. True North TN-25
Hard Rock Town. 1977. True North TN-29
Murray McLauchlan's Greatest Hits. 1978. True North TN-35
Whispering Rain. 1978. True North TN-36
Into a Mystery. (1980). True North TN-41
Storm Warning. (1981). True North TN-44
Timberline. (1983). True North TN-54
Heroes. (1984). True North TN-59
Midnight Break. (1985). True North TN-65
Swinging on a Star. (1988). Cap B-73070
The Modern Age. (1991). Cap C2-95523
Gulliver's Taxi (1996). True North TNSD 0131
Lunch at Allen's. 2004. Capitol/EMI 724359647326
The Songbook...New Arrivals. 2006. EMI 09463 73991 2 5
Catch The Moon. 2007. Capitol/EMI B000M32USU
"Murray McLauchlan: back on the street," Canadian Composer, Jun 1971
Batten, Jack. "How Murray McLauchlan found inspiration in a dried up creek bed," Weekend Magazine, 13 May 1972
McCracken, Melinda. "Street Singer," Maclean's, Mar 1973
Flohil, Richard."Interview! Murray McLauchlan," Canadian Composer, 91, May 1974
MacGregor, Roy. "Minstrel Boy," Canadian Magazine, 9 Oct 1976
Kostash, Myrna. "Macho Murray and me," Saturday Night, vol 92, Apr 1977
Boland, Kevin. "A child of the streets comes home to roost," Toronto Star Street Talk, 26 Oct 1978
Fuller, Arthur. "Up, up and away and changing gears," Maclean's, 23 Apr 1979
Lacey, Liam. "McLauchlan finds 'comfortable' spot," Toronto Globe and Mail, 1 Oct 1983
- "'Free agent' Murray learns from the road," Toronto Globe and Mail, 20 Mar 1986
Dafoe, Chris. "McLauchlan hits country road," Toronto Globe and Mail, 17 Dec 1988
Bateman, Jeff. "Swinging home," Music Express, 131, Dec 1988
Adria, Marco. "The importance of being Murray," Music of Our Times (Toronto 1990)
Allemang, John. "The soulful troubador gets gritty," Globe and Mail, 15 Oct 1996
McLauchlan, Murray. Getting Out of Here Alive: The Ballad of Murray McLauchlan (Toronto 1998)
Feniak, Peter. "Back on the road again," Globe and Mail, 16 May 2001
Links to Other Sites
The website for the JUNO Awards and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Scroll down the page to check out the latest award winners and music clips. Sample the latest JUNO Awards CD. From the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
True North Records
Check out the links for bios and music clips featuring major Canadian recording artists at the True North Records website.
Getting Out of Here Alive: The Ballad of Murray McLauchlan
A review of the book “Getting Out of Here Alive: The Ballad of Murray McLauchlan.” From the "CAML Review."