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L.A. Beat

Gurf Morlix plays with the greats

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Austin songwriter Gurf Morlix has an impressive musical résumé. Morlix, who plays the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 17, has played on and/or produced  CDs for people like Ray Bonneville, Scott Nolan, Spirit of the West’s Linda McRae, Romi Mayes Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lucinda Williams (who he played guitar for in her band for many years), Slaid Cleaves, Mary Gauthier and Robert Earl Keen. And that’s just a few of them.
For now he’s looking forward to being back in Canada for several shows with Sam Baker, including a show, Feb. 17 at the Geomatic Attic.
“I’m looking forward to  being there because of the people there,” said the Buffalo born musician from his home in Austin, where he was looking forward to escaping from freezing 45 degree Fahrenheit weather.Gurf Morlix plays the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 17.
“I love playing up there. The audiences there remind me of Texas audiences, they appreciate all kinds of music as long as it is organic and real” said Morlix who was  playing Alberta last summer at a couple folk festivals and working with a lot of canadian musicians.
“I spend my summers in Canada. I spend so much time in Canada I consider myself to be  part Canadian. I love it there,” he said.
“I’m interested in working with anyone who’s music is real and organic,” he said adding word of mouth helps him contact all of the great musicians he’s worked with.
“I’ve been really fortunate to work with a lot of really great musicians like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Mary Gauthier. It’s been really good,” he said.
“Ray Wylie Hubbard  is the greatest. You can tell what kind of guy he is  by his lyrics. He is friendly and smart . And he’s fun to be around,” Morlix enthused adding, Hubbard has a new CD out, though he wasn’t asked to play on it.
Morlix’s sedate slide guitar work  stands out  on all of the recording he plays on.
“I use  a standard tuning which some people find limiting so it forces me to play simpler. Most people use open tunings,” he observed.
“So I guess it does have a signature sound based on it’s limitations,” he said.
“I think a producer is there to work with the artist and get the best recording possible from them. But the song has to be there already and the voice has to be there to deliver it,” he observed.
“I never liked the idea of the omnipotent producer,” he said, adding he found out about Romi Mayes through a phone call from Dan Walsh.
“He suggested I listen to her and I ended up going up to Winnipeg to record her CD ‘Sweet Something Steady,’ then  I ended up going back again for “Achin’ in Her Bones.’”
Right now, he is touring on his latest solo CD ‘Last Exit to Happyland.’
“I wrote a lot of songs  for the CD —  20,24-25 of them, so I had a lot of extras. I feel like every time I make a record it’s like I’m making a piece of art. So when it’s done, it’s a really satisfying feeling.
“You have to write a lot. But you never have the perspective on them until you play them in front of people and they will tell you,” he said.
“I guess the secret to a  good song is to write  about something they know about but  it has to be in a compelling way to people. You have to move them. That’s the tricky,” he continued.
Things have changed  over the past 20-30 years when Morlix began his songwriting career.
“It’s different. Now in the digital age, anyone can make a record, so there’s a lot more music, so there’s a lot of great music, but it’s hidden. There’s also a lot of mediocre music that you have to wade through. I’ve found only  two per cent that is quality stuff,” he observed adding he doesn’t mind people downloading music as long as it motivates them to get out to the live performances.
“I look as downloads as advertising. If they like it, hopefully they will spread it around and if they show up to the show because they like the record, that’s the way it should be.”
Morlix is enjoying touring with fellow Austinite Sam Baker, who he will be touring with when he gets to Lethbridge.
“We’ve done it quite a bit. We’ve been around the United States and around Italy, all over,” he said.
“Whenever we’re on stage together it’s just like we’re in our living rooms playing songs. It’s a chemistry thing. It just works well”.
Tickets are going fast. They cost $25 for members, $27.50 for non-members, $30 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
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Last Updated ( Monday, 15 February 2010 14:03 )  
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