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Music community joins Pulver as he finally takes centre stage

Solo debut turns into a collaborative affair

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2015 (1521 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A search for Murray Pulver’s name on Google drags up thousands of hits listing him as producer, songwriter, guitarist and more. Try to find any biographical information about the man, though, and you’re out of luck.

"I don’t even have a website or anything! I’m just the worst at all that stuff, I’m not good at self-promo," says Pulver, who has been a professional musician for 23 years, performing with the likes of Doc Walker and the Crash Test Dummies, and producing a long list of recordings, including the Juno-winning album Let It Lie for Winnipeg’s Bros. Landreth.

Murray Pulver has been a professional musician for 23 years, performing with the likes of Doc Walker and the Crash Test Dummies, and producing a long list of recordings, including the Juno-winning album Let It Lie for Winnipeg’s Bros. Landreth.

Murray Pulver has been a professional musician for 23 years, performing with the likes of Doc Walker and the Crash Test Dummies, and producing a long list of recordings, including the Juno-winning album Let It Lie for Winnipeg’s Bros. Landreth.

He has spent time doing nearly every job in the music business, but the 43-year-old is now preparing to take on a new role — solo performer — with the release of his debut album, The Guest List, featuring 10 songs co-written and performed with friends he has met along his musical journey.

His guests include everyone from singer-songwriters (JP Hoe, JD Edwards, Steve Bell) to a comedian (Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall), to a few of his oldest musical friends from the Crash Test Dummies and Doc Walker, two groups that greatly impacted the trajectory of his career.

Expect several of those artists to join Pulver when he releases the album Wednesday night at the Good Will Social Club.

The Portage la Prairie-born, Winnipeg-based musician got his big break when Dummies frontman Brad Roberts saw him perform and took an instant liking to him.

"He ended up just sort of remembering me, and about 2-1/2 years later it was sort of my break. He remembered me and he told a friend, ‘If I’m gonna get a guitar player to go on the road, I’m gonna get that kid from Portage,’ " Pulver says with a chuckle. "I ended up going around the world with that band as a touring guitarist; I saw the world with those guys."

From 1996 to 2000, Pulver performed with the Dummies, all the while making trips back to Winnipeg to write, record and perform with different acts. Shortly after getting off the road, he teamed up with country group Doc Walker and became an official band member. He remained with them for 10 years while still writing and producing for other artists on the side, building up the network he called on to help him with his solo project.

"Every time I wasn’t on the road, I’d be either collaborating with others, or I’d be playing in their bands, or playing gigs on my own or whatever, just to stay sane and to also to keep the creative juices flowing," he says. "That’s how I’ve met a lot of people in the music biz and here in town: by being everywhere a little bit."

After spending so many years in bands, the role of solo artist is uncharted territory for Pulver, who says he never pictured himself as a front-and-centre type of performer.

"I just feel like I’ve always been a great collaborator and somebody that’s good to bounce ideas off of... I kind of never felt like I was much of a front person. I just felt I didn’t have the charisma or voice or whatever, and so I’ve always sort of shied away from that."

So The Guest List became a creative alternative, a way for him to still be a solo artist without actually doing it alone.

"I guess it’s not even a solo album, really," he says with a laugh.

"It might be a little all over the map musically, but at the end of the day, it’s kind of cohesive in that I’m part of each song. I sure loved the process, it was a lot of fun, and I know there’s lots of people I wanted to include and we just didn’t have time, so I’d love to try this with some other people.

"Maybe there’ll be volume two, who knows?"

 

Erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 10:57 AM CDT: Corrects date of concert.

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