Murray MacLeod was born in Inverness in 1946 and brought up in Scourie in Sutherland. He went to High School in Dornoch and won a place at Edinburgh University but he didn't enjoy it, so left to go on to a series of jobs working with his hands. He worked with a blacksmith for a number of years and then went onto wood turning and carpentry.
During this time music was always his touchstone. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that music and his family meant more to him throughout his life than anything else. He was a very skilled guitarist and a genius at putting alternative words to existing tunes. He once told me he cut his musical teeth at the famous Triangle Club sessions and in the Waverley Bar, St Mary’s St.
He spent some years in America and found a natural home in the folk scene in Homestead, Florida where he could combine his music and woodwork skills easily.
Somewhere along the way he picked up the skills to become a very respected repairer of stringed instruments. This seemed to the skill that gave him most joy apart from performing, and Murray was a well kent face at many of the local folk clubs. He frequently entered the comic song competition at Glenfarg, and he often entered Edinburgh song writing competition with songs that were always quirky! "Caitlin’s Song" and "Road Kill Café" are only two of my favourites among many.
Murray’s 'time to shine' came when he joined the committee of EFC. Here he brought us the 'Murray Board' which was supposed to help both Paddy and the audience understand the raffle prizes... not sure it exactly worked. Paddy still got mixed up and the audience still asked for prizes that had gone. Still, he worked hard on it and it grew over time until finally it disappeared at Summerhall. After this, poor Murray was called on to become the acting Chair at EFC following the very sudden death of Paddy Bort. He did a wonderful job under very difficult and strange circumstances.
On a very personal note I would like to say Murray always brought a smile to my face. There was never a bad gig in all the time I saw him play. Yes, there were things that went wrong. He liked very wordy songs and sometimes forgot or stumbled on the lyrics, but that's why we all enjoy live music. He was a lovely man, a good friend to many and will by very sadly missed by all who knew him.