Gurf Morlix has a new CD on Catamount Records titled “Fishin’ In The Muddy”.
It’s great, go buy it. That would be the easy way out to review it. But
Morlix is more than that. He has the extraordinary ability to elevate any
project he becomes involved in. I could name twenty or more CD’s I’ve purchased
for the single fact that he played or produced a portion of them. He is
unsurpassed in his keen sense to add just the right guitar part and in
the right place. His unique style of playing is instantly recognizable
the moment you hear it. Few guitarists have that ability.
This Hamburg native and close
friend of another extraordinary local musician Jim Whitford, can be credited
with much of the success of Lucinda Williams having played on many of her
critically acclaimed albums. He performed one of the most memorable shows
I’ve every seen in Buffalo when Williams opened for Blue Rodeo at the Tralf
in 1992. His playing that night was simply amazing. But we seem to be getting
off on a tangent here; I think you get the picture. Now back to the review.
Morlix recorded, mixed,
and mastered the whole thing at his own Rootball Studios in Austin, TX.
In addition to those duties he also handles organ, bass, octaphone, banjo
and of course guitar. Co-conspirators include Rick Richards on drums and
Ian McLagan on Hammond B3 organ. The twelve tracks have a sound reminiscent
of Elvis Presley’s legendary 1968 Memphis sessions with Chips Moman, where
Elvis used country, rock, blues and gospel with lots of soul to come up
with some of his best recordings ever. Morlix uses the same mix of styles
to achieve a great sound too.
The heart on your sleeve lament
“Torn In Two” starts things off. You can almost picture him ruminating
in a dark room as a haunting organ dances behind the vocals. “I Ain’t Goin’
That Way” most closely emulates those Moman sessions with it’s drum and
bass shuffle and Chet Atkins style picking from Morlix. “My Lesson” a slow
banjo number that moves at almost dirge like speed,
deals with regrets and dashed hopes. “Fishin’ In The Muddy” a reverb and
tone drenched tune, chugs along on a Morlix guitar riff. “Center Of The
Universe” is a biting number about someone’s large ego and impression of
themselves. (Lucinda Williams?) If not than “Your Picture” is. Morlix has
said it’s about a gold record Williams sent him for his work on her “Car
Wheels On A Gravel Road” CD. Their acrimonious split found him uneasy with
the award and he subsequently banished it to his tool shed. The incredulous
lyrics, ripe with sarcasm, are almost laughable if you didn’t know how
he feels about the split. “Big Eye” with it big beat drum and bass thumps
along as Morlix details a rendezvous with a “little Mamou”. “How To Be”
is a somewhat simple song with an unmistakable organ hook during the refrain.
“There Goes The Bone” is a lighthearted tune with an “oom-pa-pa” sound
and unconventional lyrics. “Let The Rhythm Rule” closes things with a tight
groove and guitar sound as only Morlix can attain.
Gurf Morlix has a new CD on Catamount
records, its great, go buy it. For more information go to www.catamountco.com