Lee Murray and Greg Nix are no strangers to the local music scene, having been playing for our local communities for decades — but not always as a duo. Joining forces as “The Southern Hold” has opened up new doors and opportunities for them, leading them down a path of success.
You’re playing in your hometown at the Wingham Akoostik Music Festival in October. What do you love most about performing locally?
Lee: We love playing locally! It’s such a great area, and we find that the local community is always keen to come out and support local acts. We can feel the love when we’re up on stage, seeing friendly faces in the crowd.
Greg: Playing close to home is always great because it gives our family and friends the opportunity to come and enjoy these experiences with us. It also allows us to collaborate with other local musicians whom we have formed friendships and worked with over the years.
Lee: Yeah, the area has a pretty tight community of musicians and performers, with some amazing talent. There are also some great venues and events popping up for original music around the area; it’s really exciting to see. The Wingham Akoostik Festival and The Old Bar Beach Festival have been going from strength to strength each year, and we can’t wait to be a part of both of these amazing events.
Where does your love of music come from?
Greg: Music has always been a part of me. I have been playing guitar since I was about 13 years old. Music has always been the thing I can come back to. I am proud to say I am now seeing that same passion for performance and music in my two daughters.
Lee: One of my earliest memories is sitting listening to my mum’s old Elvis and Buddy Holly records before I could even walk, watching Countdown and raiding my brother’s and sister’s record collections. I convinced my mum to buy me a guitar in Year 10 and formed my first band with my mates playing punk covers about a week later. We weren’t very good! Ha ha! But, that sowed the seed, and I’ve been in one band or another ever since. It looks like my youngest boy has also caught the bug, and he’s turning out to be an awesome drummer. I’m very proud.
How did your band come together? Did you know each other beforehand?
Greg: Lee and I have known each other for decades. In the early days, we would often be playing in separate bands on the same bill, but in more recent years we’ve been writing, recording and performing in bands together. We have both always done the rock band thing, so the idea of something a little more laid back appealed to us. We’ve also found that this has opened up gig opportunities that we may not have seen doing the rock stuff.
Lee: I guess we were both keen to get back into writing and performing our own music, so that was a big reason we formed The Southern Hold. Playing covers in a pub band is a heap of fun, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when a crowd is totally enjoying a song we wrote ourselves.
What genre of music would you fall into, and has this changed over the years of playing in bands?
Greg: I personally grew up on heavy/hard rock bands. In saying that, I think I have always been pretty open minded when it comes to music. I’ll give almost anything a go and try to find something positive I can take out of it. I have played in all different styles of bands over the years, which has brought me to this point. I’m not sure what genre of music to put us in.
Lee: Yeah, my taste in music has definitely changed over the years. I still love getting up on stage and getting loud and sweaty, but I really enjoy the stripped back simplicity of two voices and two acoustic guitars. I love the fact that the acoustic gigs are quite intimate; we can’t hide behind loud guitars and crashing cymbals. It makes us think about our vocal harmonies and melodies a bit more. I see the Southern Hold as a little bit Rock, a little bit Country, a little bit Folk. We love to jam and extend parts of songs; no two performances are exactly the same.
Greg: I agree. We love interpreting songs, all types of songs, putting our own take on them with as little limitation and boundaries as possible – keeping it fun, free and easygoing.
Who are you most excited to see play at the festival?
Lee: I was caught in the downpour at last year’s festival waiting to see Diesel, so I’m looking forward to his performance this year – hopefully under clear skies this time! The Mason Rack band is awesome, and I’m keen to see 19-Twenty – so many great acts!
Greg: We’ll also be supporting all the local artists too! James Bennett, The Trapps, Hudson Rose, Mark Oats and Matty Zarb – so much local talent.
What’s next for The Southern Hold?
Lee: We are appearing at Old Bar Beach Festival on 6th October, and then Wingham Akoostik Festival a couple of weeks later on Friday the 18th. We will also be performing on the Taree Riverbank for New Year’s Celebrations.
Greg: We are always busy gigging most weekends at various venues around the local area too. We’ve also been busy recording our first EP, which we will be releasing in time for the Wingham Akoostik Festival. We are super excited to share it with everyone!
Where can we find out more about The Southern Hold?
You can check us out on Facebook; just search for “The Southern Hold” or come along to a gig and say hello in person!