Reformed prisoner, recovering addict sing a new song
AS A prison riot raged around him, Allen Murray prayed.
While she sat in a drug house, ready for her next high, Alicia Murray watched a film telling the story of Jesus Christ.
It would be hard to find a couple who better exemplified the lyrics of the famous hymn, Amazing Grace – “I once was lost but now I am found”.
Allen spent more than seven years in prison for manslaughter, most of which was served in Maryborough Correctional Centre.
Alicia first took drugs when she was 14 and was addicted to intravenous drugs by 16, though she did not fall into further crime.
She nearly died from anorexia and struggled with self harm throughout her young adulthood.
Now, the married couple live in Hervey Bay and spend their days writing and performing music under their group name, 8ndure Music.
They share their songs and stories at churches, in schools and at community events.
They are preparing to launch their first album which Allen describes as a collection of Christian music songs with a “Mumford and Sons feel”.
As Alicia says, the darkness in their pasts does not define them but it does drive them forward.
“We do talk about dark times but our main point is to bring people to truth and to light,” she said.
“If people can find change, even if it doesn’t involve Jesus, there is hope.”
Their Christian faith underpins their lives, including their music, and it’s something they discovered at the lowest points in their lives, they told the Chronicle.
Allen became a Christian while serving time in prison after killing a man in Gympie. During his sentence, he helped start a church service for inmates which became known as Underground Church.
“We ended up having up to 24 inmates at that service,” he said.
Alicia said she was drug addicted and “at her worst” when a friend’s mother put on a video about the gospel of Luke.
She watched the whole film, transfixed, and this experience started her journey of recovery.
Allen said their music reached into these dark places but focused on finding a way out.
“Having experienced a lot of heartache and pain in separation, or your own bad choices, I find people can find music that affirms that pain and emotion (but) there’s hope ahead,” he said.
Alicia said listeners did not need to be Christians to appreciate the music.
“There’s a lot of people battling mental health and trauma,” she said.
“Our music goes to those places and reflects on the trauma.
“People who don’t have faith can relate to the music. It relates to their pain.”
The pair are now raising money to launch their album and create music videos.
They hope to raise about $7000, with an online fundraising portal in the works.
Keep an eye on the 8ndure Music Facebook page for updates.
If this story has raised issues for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.