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Musician Leaves Seattle After 20 Years on the Road to Farm & Make Art in a small town in New Mexico

Musician (Minus the Bear), Artist, & Farmer
Chicago Park, CA

I am excited to invite you to my conversation with Cory Murchy. Cory is a professional musician and fine artist who spent nearly two decades playing bass for the Seattle-based indie-rock band Minus the Bear. Cory reached a level that most musicians only dream of - being able to support himself entirely off of his music. He toured all around the world, playing sold out venues from New York to Japan.

While Cory loved playing music and traveling, he knew he was ready for a major life shift. He enjoyed the touring lifestyle, but what made him want to leave was actually city life. He hated the noise, crowds, and traffic. And he knew if he wanted to build out his art career, living in an expensive city made little sense. He didn’t want to have to get a day job to keep up with the growing cost of living. He didn't have a set plan. All he knew was that he wanted to try his hand at rural living.

Cory on tour with Minus the Bear

When the band parted ways in 2018, Cory and his wife Annie threw caution to the wind. They packed up and sold their Seattle home, and took a job house-sitting on an 800-acre ranch in Colorado. It was an enormous change, and an huge step into the unknown. Yet, they fully embraced the hard work and steep learning curve. Colorado is where Cory developed a deep-seated passion for irrigation, farming, and the physical joys of working with the land.

Following the ranch, Cory and Annie planted permanent roots in a little village nestled along the Rio grande in the high-desert of New Mexico. Cory grew up in Santa Fe, and had spent his whole life in cities. In this new chapter, he knew he wanted to try his hand at rural living. He also missed his home state of New Mexico, and decided that was where he wanted to return.

Cory had dabbled with painting when he was working as a musician, but back then he didn’t have enough energy or time to fully commit to the process. Once he left the city, he finally could focus on his art. His wood-panel geometric paintings are explosions of color and energy. He initially planned to make a living through commissions but realized that the hustle required to make that his full time pursuit was taking away the joy and peace that painting gave him. Instead, he opted to take a full time irrigation and farming job on a historic ranch and paint in his free time, working commissions only on his own terms. Having been in a collective creative pursuit for 20 years, painting has been a therapeutic expression of his own individual creativity. It has brought tremendous calm, joy and clarity to his life.

Cory didn’t have any qualms about making a huge 180 shift with his life, in fact he welcomed it. He wanted a shock after doing the same thing for 20 years. So he allowed himself to be open to change and new opportunities, which is what gave him the confidence to step into a completely new path, and refrain from clinging on to any old version of identity that would have stopped him from embracing unbounded transformation.

In our conversation we speak about the power of taking risks, believing in the process and picking yourself up when you fail. We talk about the future reality of water access based on Cory's knowledge as an irrigation specialist, and the joys of reaping what you sow. We speak about the pros and cons of making a living off of your art, compromise, and creative autonomy.

This is a story about finding your voice through individual expression, the freedom to shift your path without fear, reconnection to self through change, and embracing new chapters in life fully.



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