Roger Murrah, who wrote 10 No. 1 hits for artists like Alabama, Alan Jackson, Lee Greenwood, and the Oak Ridge Boys, will host “A High Cotton Homecoming with Roger Murrah and Friends” on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Limestone County Event Center. Proceeds will benefit High Cotton Arts, a non-profit art incubator the Spirit of Athens and its Athens Arts League committee operates in downtown Athens. The concert is sponsored in part by the City of Athens and Paradise Pet Resort and Spa.
Mayor Ronnie Marks has declared Oct. 1, 2015, as Roger Murrah Day in
Athens to celebrate the event and to thank Murrah for his efforts to support the local art community.
“Roger is an inspiration to those from Athens and Limestone County who want to pursue a career in music or other arts,” Marks said. “Roger was determined to achieve his dream, and through his efforts and encouragement, other artists in our community can receive support in finding success doing what they love.”
Murrah learned to play music at the family’s Athens farm on a 1929 Howard piano his father obtained through a trade with his pickup truck. His interest in music continued through school, where he performed at venues such as a talent show at Piney Chapel Elementary. Retired Decatur Police Chief Ken Collier recently shared a photo of Murrah’s group preparing to perform for the talent show. The group included Murrah, Collier David Ruff and Travis Schrimsher. Collier said Murrah wanted to sing “Dream Lover.”
“He talked us into backing him up,” Collier said.
Murrah held steadfast to his music dreams, even during his service in the U.S. Army. While in service he signed on as a staff writer with Muscle Shoals music publisher/producer Rick Hall. After his service he and others opened a studio in Huntsville, which led Murrah to meet and sign with Bobby Bare, a recording artist and music publisher. In 1973, Murrah had his first nationally charted song with “It’s Raining In Seattle.”
Murrah has since been named Broadcast Music Incorporated’s Songwriter of the Decade and been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a Bronze Star induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Fame.
Marks encourages citizens and students to learn more about Murrah’s contributions to the music industry as well as Athens and Limestone County’s musical heritage to celebrate Roger Murrah Day and Murrah’s concert. Bailey Davis, a 10-year-old student at Athens Bible School, sang and acted out one of Murrah’s songs as part of her training with voice coach Nina Claxton.
In addition, the Athens High School Marching Band performed a marching band arrangement for a song Murrah co-wrote called “I’m In A Hurry.”
Culinary arts students at the Limestone County Career Technical Center also are involved. There are sponsorship/special guest tables at the concert with individual tablescapes to honor Murrah’s No. 1 hits. The Tech Center’s culinary arts students are creating a tablescape for the song “Southern Rains.”
“Part of Athens Arts League’s mission is to bring cultural events to Athens,” said Athens Arts League Chairwoman Diane Lehr. “We are so fortunate to have the entire community interested in the Roger Murrah Homecoming. The student participation in activities has been impressive, and we are thrilled our youth are connecting with Roger Murrah by learning his music.”
The public can meet Murrah on Oct. 1 prior to the concert during a reception at High Cotton Arts in downtown Athens. The reception is from 4-6 p.m., and Murrah will be available to meet with fans from 4-5 p.m. The concert is sold out.
For more information, go online at: http://athensartsleague.com/high-cotton-arts.html
Whereas, Roger Murrah is an award-winning songwriter who developed his musical roots in Athens, Alabama, where he learned to play music on his family’s farm by picking out tunes on a 1929 Howard Piano his father obtained through a trade using a pickup truck;
Whereas, Roger Murrah served his country in the U.S. Army, and while in service to his country, still pursued his dreams and signed on as a staff writer with Muscle Shoals music publisher/producer Rick Hall;
Whereas, upon completing his military service, Roger Murrah and some partners opened a recording studio in Huntsville where Roger Murrah met industry veteran Bobby Bare, a recording artist and music publisher;
Whereas, Bobby Bare signed Roger Murrah to Bare’s Return Music in 1972 and a year later Roger Murrah had his first nationally charted song, “It’s Raining In Seattle”;
Whereas, Roger Murrah wrote songs often inspired by his upbringing in Athens and that 10 of those songs became 10 No. 1 hits, including “High Cotton,” “Southern Rains,” and “Don’t Rock The Jukebox”;
Whereas, Waylon Jennings asked Roger Murrah to co-write an autobiographical album entitled “A Man Called Hoss,” which led to songs such as “Rough and Rowdy Days” and “If Ole Hank Could Only See Us Now”;
Whereas, Roger Murrah formed Murrah Music Corporation, and received honors such as induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, a Bronze Star induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s Walk of Fame, and being named Broadcast Music Incorporated’s Songwriter of the Decade;
Whereas, Roger Murrah is supporting local talent and our arts community with his “A High Cotton Homecoming with Roger Murrah and Friends” benefit concert on Oct. 1, 2015, at the Limestone County Event Center at 7 p.m., which will provide funds to the non-profit downtown art incubator known as High Cotton Arts;
Whereas, Roger Murrah has given on loan to High Cotton Arts the 1929 Howard Piano as well as many of his awards – items which will inspire local artists;
Whereas, through Roger Murrah’s support the Spirit of Athens and Athens Art League can continue to provide art opportunities and artist support in our community;
NOW THEREFORE be it resolved that I, William R. “Ronnie” Marks, Mayor of the City of Athens, Alabama, do hereby declare Oct. 1, 2015, as Roger Murrah Day in Athens, and ask our citizens and students to learn more about Roger Murrah’s contribution to the music industry as well as the rich musical heritage of Athens and Limestone County and for our citizens and teachers to encourage and support local artists and our High Cotton Arts facility.