In the early 2000s, Pete Murray was everywhere in Australia. Originally from Chinchilla, Murray spent his formative teenage years in Brisbane before picking up a guitar around the age of 22.
While Feeler isn’t Murray’s debut album (the independently released The Game takes that crown) it was the album that pushed Murray into rarified air in the Australian music industry.
The origins of Feeler can be traced back to when Murray made the move to Melbourne to pursue his music career. Upon arriving down south Murray’s blend of folk immediately struck a chord with label executives, and Murray signed with Sony BMG.
The Recording Process
When it came time to record what would become Feeler, Pete Murray had an established band that included keyboard player Ben McCarthy from his Brisbane days. Murray and his band linked up with producer Paul McKercher with Ben McCarthy donning the bass guitar and keyboards, Christian Sargeant playing drums, Paul Tyrell on guitar and Col McIntyre laying down some reed and flute magic to top off the album.
Pete Murray has previously described the type of album he wanted Feeler to be, stating on his website that “the records I love by people like Nick Drake, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, they are built to last. I wanted this to be an album like that, something you can pull out in 30 years and still hear the feeling in it, rather than something that’s dated by the musical fashions of the day.”
Feeler was officially released on 21 July 2003 with the title track as the first single. Although Triple J, Nova FM and Triple M added it to their rotation, the album wasn’t a certified hit from week 1. Despite this, word got around that Murray’s album was catch authentic, and was full of great tunes.
Feeler did enter the ARIA top 50 album charts and at the same time his reputation was building fast and he started selling out shows in smaller venues.
Feeler really began to pick up steam upon the release of the second single, “Lines”, but it was “So Beautiful” that was the true breakout hit.
Arguably Murray’s most well known song, “So Beautiful” was originally released on Murray’s first album before being re-recorded for Feeler.
Although commonly referred to as a breakup song, that was not it’s original intention. The song came to Murray after seeing a group of “pretentious” people in a Brisbane bar during his time living in the Sunshine State.
Murray further expanded on it’s origins in a 2013 interview with The Ballarat Courier. “I can’t stand pretentious people like that. I remember the way they strutted around and they were really loud and obnoxious and I just had to get out of there. I don’t have time for that. As soon as I got home, I started writing the song. I was trying to get the point across that these guys needed to take a good look at themselves and see how they were acting” Murray said.
“So Beautiful” gained widespread play on Australian radio, reaching the top ten singles chart in 2004. This track saw sales of Feeler flourish, and by late March 2004 the album topped the ARIA charts despite being released around eight months earlier.
One of Murray’s most memorable performances during this era of his career was at the 2004 ARIA awards where he performed “So Beautiful”. By 2008, the album had sold half-a-million copies and now has gone seven times platinum.
Feeler in 2022
Unlike a lot of music from the early 2000s, Feeler really stands out as being a timeless classic. Instead of focusing on the in-trend production tricks of the time, the raw-ness and honesty in Murray’s tunes allowed him to achieve what he set out to do in 2003 – create an album that isn’t dated sonically or emotionally.
Following the success of “Feeler”, Murray’s career continued to blossom and he has now sold over 1.2 million albums in Australia. If you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, or if you are a younger music fan, take a listen to Feeler and see for yourself how to stacks up.
Heath is the founder of Australian Sounds Live and is a dynamic and innovative business strategist with the talent, experience and drive to recognise good ideas across a range of industries and rapidly transform these into market-busting offerings. Combined with a deep understanding of what it takes for a digital-age business to thrive, and a rare ability to energise the teams propelling those businesses into the future, Heath’s passion for creating and developing new ventures unlocks potential and yields high returns.