James Robert Murray
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James Robert Murray

San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM

San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Critics are paid to be critical. Good news is rarely good press. Cinderella stories about Miracle Milers are the stuff of the altruistic novelist and ‘G’ rated movies. The buzz in South Central Texas Music circles is nothing but good news, seasoned with a liberal shaker of salty speculation.

Jim Murray’s Anthill Society introduced an unprepared Austin, Texas to the hottest new sound since the ‘Seattle’ influence swept our nation in the early 90’s. David Cotton, talent buyer for many of the eminent nightspots in Austin, including the pinnacled Saxon Pub on Lamar in near South Austin rolled the dice on the upstart San Antonio band.

For every genre there is a Mecca. For country, there is The Bluebird Café, in Nashville. Blues emanates from the House of Blues in Memphis. Jazz has chosen the entirety of New Orleans for a home. Texas Americana was made famous via Humble Time at Freiheit Store in New Braunfels, Texas. Thirty odd miles north, Austin has her own sound and Saxon Pub is the top showplace for hot new talent. Anthill Society made its debut one balmy mid-October Saturday night at the Saxon as opener for the well-known Omar and the Howlers. Two van transports of Society fans from San Antonio could scarcely find seating in the already packed club. Savvy Austin music fans cheered the birth of a band that already smacked of superstar.

After the final standing ovation, fans clamored to meet Jim Murray, Lead singer/song writer, with one question: Where are you guys from? His response was greeted with slack-jawed amazement – San Antonio! It is rare that a San Antonio act ventures north of Centerpoint Road on Interstate 35; at least not more than once and certainly never to play the venerable Saxon Pub. Anthill Society crossed the boundary and, based upon the overwhelming response, has entered the Austin Music scene for good.

Prior to the show, David Cotton was first to voice his trepidation in gambling on an untested San Antonio band. After the show, however, he quickly voiced his pleasure in making a wise decision. His invitation to the Society to play Saxon may seem unremarkable to those who are untested in the business. There are hundreds of Austin bands which have played Sixth Street for years and have never seen the inside of The Saxon Pub. The idea of a San Antonio band debuting in Austin there is unheard of.

Cotton didn’t make his decision off hand. To his credit, he makes it his habit to review every CD and press kit that is sent him. The music hit a chord with him and the growing buzz he was hearing prompted him to give this San Antonio act a shot. His years in the business and his personal knowledge of the true musical phenoms of Austin fame helped him recognize the prospect of a hit when he was presented with one.

How could a talent as powerfully moving as Jim Murray’s Anthill Society emerge suddenly in the marketplace? Americana favorites like Pat Green, Randy Rogers, Jack Ingram and many others emerged from thriving country bands playing the cover venues throughout south Texas. So where did Jim Murray come from. Why have we never heard of him until the release of his debut album, Low Life, last March?

Murray never looked upon himself as a lead singer. Rather, he played guitar behind many aspiring artists and performers. He never felt as though his voice would appeal to listeners. His song writing has been a treasure throughout his life; but until he assembled his Anthill Society, the sound never met his lofty expectations. As a result, he placed himself in a type of musical exile – a hiatus of sorts. This lull lasted nearly 15 years during which his writing all but ceased.

What we have in the Anthill Society is the treasure of Monte Cristo. Murray’s sudden appearance was the opening of the locked box. Moreover, since March, Murray has written 6 new songs with hit potential written all over them. The Society’s official tour calendar commenced some time in May of 2004. In less than half a year the band has appeared at the Saxon Pub; been interviewed on radio; experienced an average of 700 to a thousand hits per month on their web site (www.anthillsociety.com); elevated to number 5 of more than 200 of the top bands in San Antonio - based on Barstar.com’s band rating system.

Jim once described his sound as Van Morrison on steroids in a honkey tonk dating your sister. Whatever the label, the Society Sound is winning over even the most selective audiences. At least 3 industry publications are preparing feature pieces on the band. A second album is in the works, and industry anticipation is high. Take a seat near the stage and watch Jim Murray’s Anthill Society grow.
- Tone Quarry News


.....Murray's passion is actually his music, which consists of a singing, songwriting career. His music portrays a South Texas genre incorporating rhythm, blues and rock & roll. His influences have been Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earl and Joe Ely. Murray could actually never play a cover all the way through, something to do with A.D.D., so he started writing his own music. He has been playing for 20 years and now has his own band called AntHill Society. It is reflective of our third coast sound. If you ever hear AntHill Society live you can't help but be surprised at how clean and crisp their performance is. His lyrics come spontaneously, almost as automatic writing. He doesn't consider himself a storyteller, he just reflects on his feelings dealing with his life. Murray is truly a South Texas Renaissance Man. - Voices of Art magazine


"AntHill Society is like Santana doing the ‘Stray Cat Strut’ with the depth and soul of Robin Trower. These guys are truly ones to watch."
Matt Matlack, Space380 Music Promotion

"Like his music, Murray is bold, brash, and unapologetic for anything…He has a rough-grained voice which reminds of Delbert McClinton…(AntHill Society) is probably the best new rock band in San Antonio ."
Action Magazine

"If you ever hear AntHill Society live you can't help but be surprised at how clean and crisp their performance is. (Jim Murray’s) lyrics come spontaneously, almost as automatic writing. He doesn't consider himself a storyteller, he just reflects on his feelings dealing with his life. Murray is truly a South Texas Renaissance Man."
Voices of Art Magazine

"I like your style of music. Definitely what we are looking for. Keep up the good work…"
Sandy Dorian, New York Music Festival

"Texas has assembled AntHill Society for a rocky colonial gathering, marching single-file into hot rock and blues licks peppered with a unique vocal sound. This San Antonio mound of musicians delivers a well-established sound behind Murray ’s intellectual and sometimes tongue-in-cheek compositions. The band leans toward rock with a heavy blues influence."
Jinelle Boyd, My Texas Music.com

"This project is probably the single most important album that has ever come out of this studio."
Wade Parker , ITG Studios

"A (friend) gave me your CD last week. I was blown away. I love the music."
Jimmy Spacek , Recording Artist - Various


Jim Murray is doing something he was told was impossible.
He is fronting a hot local rock band that lands regular gigs while playing nothing but original material.
AntHill Society is an irregular name for an irregular musical happening which Murray insists is comprised of fans, friends, and the talented musicians who make this rock engine roll. Like his music, Murray is bold, brash, and unapologetic for anything, and his "ants" are eating it up. He has a rough-grain voice which reminds of Delbert McClinton, and the AntHill lead guitarist, one Matt Gilmore, is a top-rung picker whose classy rifts round out what is probably the best new rock band in San Antonio. - Sam Kendrick, Action Magazine


Ants. Ah, yes, a whole society of ants. Texas has assembled AntHill Society for a rocky colonial gathering, marching single-file into hot rock and blues licks peppered with a unique vocal sound. This San Antonio mound of musicians delivers a well-established sound behind Murray’s intellectual and sometimes tongue-in-cheek compositions. The band leans toward rock with a heavy blues influence. Usually performing as a queen-less four-piece, AHS’s front man Jim Murray adds his raspy voice as the fifth instrument. The guitar work is excellent on “LOW LIFE,” the debut offering from AntHill Society. The occasional keyboard work from producer Wade Parker adds a special touch to the album. This disc is an excellent first offering, and has appeal across several genres. Give it a listen and get a copy to take to your next picnic. - Jinelle Boyd


Discography

2006 "LowLife"
2007 "Short of the Blues"
Audio clips available at the link below:
http://music.download.com/anthillsociety/3600-8933_32-100465679.html?tag=listing_song_artist

All songs are original compositions by Jim Murray.

Photos

Bio

With two highly rated albums under their belt, AntHill Society is achieving a fan propelled momentum in both live performance and album spin.

Their trademark 'Texas Soul' is unlike any style of music around. Granted, in it you will find inspirations from Rock, Blues, country and even a light seasoning of jazz. But the mix is total Jim Murray. The lyrical message - a direct communique to the heart of any listener.

Jim Murrays AntHill Society is experiencing a phenomenal growth in fan base and industry buzz. They were featured on the cover of Action Magazine. (see News link above) The article read, Like his music, Murray is bold, brash and unapologetic for anythingHe has a rough-grain voice which reminds of Delbert McClinton(AntHill Society) is probably the best new rock band in San Antonio.

Matt Matlack of Space 380 Music Promotion said, AntHill Society is like Santana doing the Stray Cat Strut with the depth and soul of Robin Trower. These guys are truly ones to watch.

Sandy Dorian of the New York Music Festival wrote: I like your style of music. Definitely what we are looking for. Keep up the good work. You guys are definitely talented.

Their debut album, Low Life, was released March of 2004 to an eager fan base. Low Life was a broad-scoped introduction to the Society style without relying on a common theme or message. Jim wanted to produce a montage of different styles from which he hoped to attract a diverse audience. The album is now available in music stores and on line. Currently, radio stations regionally and out of state are giving it play.

AntHill Society returns to the studio in December to begin production on their next album, Short of the Blues. The second album will feature 11 of Jims latest works tending towards a more grass roots feel and Texas rock drive for which he is becoming popular.

Jims Anthill Society consists of Jim Murray singing Lead and playing guitar; Matt Gilmore on Lead Guitar and backing vocals; Jerry Winkler on Bass; and Craig Rainey on Drums and backing vocals.

As word grows about this great new sound from south central Texas so has the bands burgeoning fan base. Society membership has expanded exponentially to the point that fans keep up with the band from all over the country. Recently, a radio station from Italy requested a copy of Low Life for regular rotation. A British radio station reported that the tune Just Add Alcohol (Low Life) was most requested in rotation.

Where will AntHill Society go from here? Industry experts agree straight up! The buzz is astounding. Audience response is unprecedented. What does Jim think? This is a dream come true. My whole life has been preparation for doing this.

Jim has been fortunate to be surrounded by tremendous on-stage talent and the love and respect of family, friends, and a loyal fan base. His on-stage persona is natural and his voice is uniquely suited for his music. With Jim what you see is what you get. He is honest and cares deeply that those who share in his music are given something heart-felt and real. Every fan has his or her favorite tune; a song which has a connection to them individually. Jims music is inspired by his life experiences, relayed with a style and turn of phrase that creates a picture in the listeners mind. It is rare that a songwriter has the gift of both catchy melodies and powerful lyrics. Jim Murrays AntHill Society is the embodiment of life and art.

Band Members