Michael Martin Murphey
Michael Martin Murphey was born in Dallas,Texas, the firstborn son of P.L. and Lois Murphey. He has one brother, Mark, who has had a longtime career as an actor. Michael spent many of his childhood summer days on family ranches and farms, which is how he came by his love of the cowboy way of life, horses, cattle, agriculture, the outdoors, acoustic music from the country, cowboy songs, and fascination with studying nature.
Michael was educated at W.H.Adamson High School, Dallas, Texas, North Texas State U., Denton,Texas, and U.C.L.A., Westwood, California. His academic interests centered around Creative Writing, History, Ethnomusicology, Folklore, and Classical Studies.
Michael learned to play music on a plastic ukelele that was a gift from his grandfather, “Spud” Murphey, a career Navy officer who lived in Hawaii most of his life.
“Spud” gave Michael a guitar when he was 13 years old, a Martin D-28 that became Michael”s favorite instrument for writing songs and performing. Michael played music for service clubs, church gatherings, folk music coffee- house venues( his first professional venue was called”The Rubiayat”, on McKinney Ave. in Dallas, Texas) ranches, and youth camps. He had his own local music television show by age 16, and his own coffee house nightclub, called The Windjammer Inn, by age 18. In his teen years and early twenties, Michael also played worked and played cowboy music around the campfires for guests at Sky Ranch in Lewisville, Texas, and Hidden Falls Ranch, near Amarillo.
When Michael left North Texas to attend U.C. L.A., he became one of the instigators of the Alternative Country and Western scene in Southern California. His friends in the same music scene included John McEuen and Jeff Hannah of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Don Henley of the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, and many others.
Michael left his home in the San Gabriel Mountains of California for the Hill Country of Austin,Texas. He was the man who sparked the music scence in Austin, Texas to gain a national reputaion, inspiring Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker to move there. His first album, Geronimos”Caddilac was recognized by Rolling Stone as a classic, when Chet Flippo pronounced him “the best new singer- songwriter in America.