Flying Cat Music is proud to bring back renowned Americana artist Gurf Morlix on Saturday, May 16. The show will be at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 prompt. Admission is $18 or $15 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-688-9453.
Gurf Morlix is a nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter, musical virtuoso, and avidly sought after record producer living in Austin, Texas, who is enshrined in that outlaw country music capital’s Music Awards Hall of Fame. Many first heard of Gurf during the eleven years he spent as Lucinda Williams’ accompanist, when he also produced her first two albums. But that’s just one chapter in an amazing career. Morlix has also toured with such luminaries as Warren Zevon, Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, and Steve Earle; produced albums for leading Americana artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, Slaid Cleaves, and Mary Gauthier; and has done studio work for a host of other major talents.
As for Gurf’s solo career, Mother Jones Magazine says it well, “Since the end of his collaboration with Lucinda Williams in the ’90s, singer-guitarist Gurf Morlix has produced a series of striking solo albums marked by dark visions and virtuosic, albeit tastefully understated, musicianship.” Morlix has been nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association on six occasions, winning that distinction in 2009; yet he excels by not sounding flashy on guitar or on any of the many other instruments he plays so well. Gurf’s notes are emotional punctuation, often sparse, at times minimalistic, and virtually always intense even when understated. It fits his entire approach to music; aim for the heart, don’t flinch, never obscure. His lyrics reflect that also.
In a 2004 review of Gurf Morlix’s third solo release, Cut ‘N Shoot, a Waxed reviewer observed, “If honky-tonk country were written in haiku, Gurf Morlix could be the music’s Zen master . . . Terse and laconic, he reduces each lyric to its bare-bones essence, as if he’s singing in Morse code or emotional shorthand.” A Sing Out Magazine review of Gurf Morlix’s 2013 release says, “Finds The Present Tense is a haunting set that in its apparent simplicity is deceptively deep and complex.” As the Austin Chronicle notes, “there’s a depth to the veteran guitarist, producer, and singer-songwriter that others can’t touch. “
AmericanaUK explains Gurf’s significance as a music producer, “What Gurf Morlix has done for the Austin, Texas, scene can easily be compared with what Phil Spector did for the girl groups back in the ‘60s. In other words, the Austin-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has become the go-to-guy for Southern songwriters for years now.”
Morlix’s new self-produced CD, Eatin’ at Me, has been called his most personal and autobiographical record to date. Though Austin is home to him now, Gurf Morlix grew up outside Buffalo, New York, and the grit of that city in the sixties seems to permeate his latest release starting with its opening track “Dirty Old Buffalo” with lyrics that encompass the arc of the album.
“Over the Skyway past the steel plant
We’d go once a year
The roads were rugged the air was orange
Mom was quiet you could smell her fear . . .
. . . Now it’s not the same it’s all in color
It’s not the sepia that I recall
It’s all so smooth but I miss the gritty
Fresh paint of the wrecking ball
They’ll polish everything with money
It’s what they do this I know
That’s not the city that I remember
But if you scratch the surface the grease will show”
Jon Sobel of blogcritics.org describes Eatin’ at Me as, “a beautifully produced work of dusty Americana” while fellow Americana Music Association Award winner Buddy Miller calls it, ”Deep stuff . . . like a letter from an old lost friend.” Lodged between Gurf’s early childhood memories and introspection fifty years removed are vignettes so sharply etched you half expect the people inhabiting them to nod back at you, for surely you know them, if only in passing. They’re not all winners which makes them all the more real.
Reflecting on his songs during an interview with Everything Sundry Gurf Morlix said, “My songs are often perceived as dark by a lot of people, but I don’t think they are. I think there’s a message in them, and the message is that life is a short movie, so it should be valued fully. You can’t afford to wait for tomorrow. Tell those wayward souls you love them, now.”