Laurie Morvan Band - blues that rocks!
Busting out of Long Beach, CA with a fresh energy that excites audiences.
The LMB will get the crowd on its feet and rocking the blues, right from the first moment Laurie wails on guitar! Fans also love all the stories behind the songs, the band's high-energy, tight-as-nails arrangements, and the positive message that permeates Laurie's music.
Anne Wild, Booking@LaurieMorvan.com, (562) 301-9686
Laurie Morvan Band concerts feature the beautiful harmonies of Laurie and backup singer Lisa Grubbs, dueling solos between Laurie, bassist Pat Morvan and keyboardist Tom Salyers, while drummer Lonnie Jones drives this high energy train. The LMB has won a Blues Foundation Award, starred in a 30 minute TV special, twice been named the House of Blues Radio Hour “Blues Breaker” artist, and is always a crowd favorite at festivals.
NOTABLE FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
2012 Blues by the Bay Festival, Eureka, CA
2012 Coloma Blues Live! Festival, Coloma, CA
2012 Blues in the District, Quincy, IL
2012 The Big Room @ Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, CA
2012 European Tour: Netherlands, Luxembourg
2012 Red White & Blues Festival, Feather Falls Casino, Oroville, CA
2011 Thunder Bay Blues Festival, Thunder Bay, ON Canada
2011 Billtown Blues Festival, Hughesville, PA
2011 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, San Diego to Mexico
2011 Blues by the Bay Festival, Eureka, CA
2011 Groovin’ in the Grove Concert Series, Jessie’s Grove Winery, Lodi, CA
2011 Gateway Blues Festival, Three Rivers, CA
2011 Blues in the District, Quincy, IL
2011 Parkville River Jam Jazz, Blues and Fine Arts Festival, Parkville, MO
2011 Taste of Champaign-Urbana, Champaign, IL
2010 Coloma Blues Live! Festival, Coloma, CA
2010 SummerSounds concert series, Greensburg, PA
2010 Blues in the District, Quincy, IL
2010 Monterey Bay Blues Festival, Monterey, CA
2010 Fire On The Mountain Music Festival, Sonora, CA
2010 Rehoboth Beach Bandstand Concert Series, Rehoboth Beach, DE
2010 Windrose Blues Cruise, Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico
2010 Long Beach Bayou Festival, Long Beach, CA
2009 Ellnora Guitar Festival, Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Champaign, IL
2009 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
2009 Coloma Blues Live! Festival, Coloma, CA
2009 Long Beach Blues Festival, Long Beach, CA
2009 Windrose Blues Cruise, Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico
2009 Simi Cajun Creole Music Festival, Simi Valley, CA
2009 Groovin’ in the Grove Concert Series, Jessie’s Grove Winery, Lodi, CA
2008 FINALIST International Blues Challenge, Memphis, TN
2008 WINNER Blues Artist on the Rise, Blues Festival Guide
2008 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue concert, San Juan Capistrano, CA
2008 Adams Avenue Street Fair, San Diego, CA
2008 Gator by the Bay Zydeco & Blues Festival, San Diego, CA
2008 Catalina Island Blues Festival, Avalon, CA
2008 Blues, Brews & BBQ, Fresno Blues Festival, Fresno, CA
WINNER 2010 Blues Foundation Award, Best Self-Produced CD
WINNER 2008 Blues Artist on the Rise.
FINALIST 2008 International Blues Challenge (IBC).
FINALIST 2008 Blues Foundation's Best Self-Produced CD.
WINNER 2008 Blues Artist on the Rise
House of Blues Radio Hour Blues Breaker Artist (twice - 2010 and 2007)
Feature articles on Laurie Morvan in Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar and Modern Guitars magazines.
House of Blues Radio Hour "Blues Breaker" Artist.
"A guitar fest of major proportions...with Fire It Up! she enters the upper echelon" Vintage Guitar
"Poised on the edge of a major breakthrough...sultry vocals, imaginative songwriting, and smoldering fretwork." Blues Revue
"Exhilarating electric blues guitar style" Modern Guitars
"Morvan singes the strings" Guitar Player
"Superior pop-blues" DownBeat
"Slammin'! Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues), House of Blues Radio Hour
"Morvan has all the soulfulness of Bonnie Raitt and the swaggering, muscular guitar tone of Stevie Ray Vaughan ... a blistering, high-energy ending to another great guitar festival at Krannert" (2009 Ellnora Guitar Festival review) News-Gazette
"Let's just dispense with all the female blues guitar player business and forget the tall California blonde girl stuff and get to the heart of the matter right now. Laurie Morvan can play the blues." Illinois Times
"Morvan, who opened the show, also stole it...in a scorching set of original blues rock that left the early arrivals staggering to the CD sales booth." (2009 Coloma Blues Live festival review) Mountain Democrat, CA
“Morvan, who can play rockin' blues with the best of men and make it look easy, captured the hearts and ears of blues fans...a humble but powerful talent (Catalina Island Blues Festival review)” Catalina Islander
Laurie Morvan - Lead Guitar/Lead Vocals
Lisa Grubbs - Background Vocals
Pat Morvan - Bass
Tommy Salyers - keyboards
Lonnie Jones - Drums
Breathe Deep - CD (2011). Semi-Finalist for Blues Foundation Award for Best Self-Produced CD.
Fire It Up! - CD (2009). Winner 2010 Blues Foundation Award for Best Self-Produced CD.
Cures What Ails Ya - CD (2007). Finalist for 2008 Blues Foundation Award for Best Self-Produced CD.
Find My Way Home - CD (2004)
Out Of The Woods - CD (1997) released under the band's former name, Backroad Shack
USA and international radio airplay includes:
* XM/Sirius – the LMB was a “Pick to Click” on B.B. King’s Bluesville (wth Bill Wax)
* Twice named Blues Breaker Artist of the Week on House of Blues Radio Hour – in 2010 and in 2007
* Hit #9 on Living Blues Radio Chart for March 2010.
No Working During Drinking Hours
Saved By the Blues
Where Are The Girls With Guita
Beat Up From the Feet Up
It Only Hurts When I Breathe
Hurtin' and Healin'
Livin' In A Man's World
Let Me Carry Your Troubles
Long Time til I'm Gone
"Morvan has all the soulfulness of Bonnie Raitt and the swaggering, muscular guitar tone of Stevie Ray Vaughan"
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The Ellnora Guitar Festival wrapped up on Saturday at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, w...The Ellnora Guitar Festival wrapped up on Saturday at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, with another hectic schedule of guitaristic bliss. As with the Thursday and Friday lineups, I was once again struck by themany great performances offered free of charge on Saturday, which added to the overall "community festival" vibe of the event. In fact, it is tempting to say that these free acts again eclipsed the evening's headliners.
After the hypnotic grooves of The National, it was refreshing to hit the lobby for the final afterglow performance of the festival and hear some good, old-fashioned, Texas-style blue-rock guitar-slinging from the Laurie Morvan Band. Morvan has all the soulfulness of Bonnie Raitt and the swaggering, muscular guitar tone of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
In a response to Winona Judd's "Girls with Guitars," Morvan asked, and answered, her own question "Where Are All the Girls with Guitars?" Look no further. She provided a blistering, high-energy ending to another great guitar festival at Krannert.
By Tim Barnes | News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) | September 15, 2009
"Morvan, who opened the show, also stole it..."
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Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin, Mighty Mike Shermer and Laurie Morvan burned do...Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin, Mighty Mike Shermer and Laurie Morvan burned down Henningsen Lotus Park on Saturday and helped fund children’s arts programs at the fourth annual Coloma Blues Live!, a benefit for the El Dorado Arts Council.
Rock-tinged blues guitars ruled the day. Many attendees felt that Morvan, who opened the show, also stole it. The clear-eyed former athlete brought guns to rival Michelle Obama, and proceeded to bend them around her Fender Stratocaster in a scorching set of original blues rock that left the early arrivals staggering to the CD sales booth.
By Mike Roberts | Mother Lode News | June 08, 2009 08:33
"Exhilarating electric blues guitar style..."
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Anyone familiar with guitarist Laurie Morvan knows she’s a complete performer who takes her music se...Anyone familiar with guitarist Laurie Morvan knows she’s a complete performer who takes her music seriously. Following the release of her third CD, Cures What Ails Ya, the stunning California axe slinger has seen the doors of recognition open up to her exhilarating electric blues guitar style. However, this occurrence was far from effortless. Laurie found out the hard way that it often takes time for a female blues guitarist to be taken seriously. Some nightclub doors weren’t open to the idea at first, be it a good idea or not. "I don’t want a girl guitarist. We had one last year," she’d often hear, like she was a mere novelty item. But ultimately, unbiased listeners have come to recognize the true authenticity and devotion in her music and in her guitar playing. Laurie’s fluid licks, incredible tone, and the emotion she exerts in her songs, of which are mostly original, are evidence enough of just how serious she is.
Though her knowledge of music began with the usual teen interest in pop and rock, she later discovered the music of the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. Eventually realizing that the music was derivative of traditional blues, she dug deeper and discovered Robert Johnson, Etta James, Freddie King, and more. Determined to make music her true calling in life, she used her University of Illinois degree in electrical engineering (also acquiring comprehensive pilot training and licensing) as a way out of her hometown of Plainfield, Illinois. Laurie eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where, following a brief stint in aerospace engineering, she began playing music fulltime.
There was no stopping Laurie Morvan once she fully realized her potential as a guitarist. The fact that she’s a superb vocalist with a knack for composing great songs only added fuel to the fire already burning in her playing. Her first CD, Out Of The Woods, was released in 1997 when the band was known as Backroad Shack. The opening song, "I Shoulda Known Better," got into an amazing rocked up feel at the get go, and flaunted her flair for tone, smoldering guitar licks, great songwriting, and appealing lead and background vocals. Known as the Laurie Morvan Band for her second release, 2004’s Find My Way Home, put greater emphasis on the talents Laurie and the band were already known for. All the while, her guitar playing and songwriting skills were fermenting and maturing significantly.
Cures What Ails Ya flaunts Laurie and the band at a pinnacle height of creativity for 2007 and the new year. It’s easily their best work to date, and the music is fresh and exciting. It begins with a raucous "Kickin’ Down Doors", in which Morvan gets into some fiery guitar solos. Her tone is about as clean and creamy as a Strat can get, and the notes merge together and soar about in melodic fluidity. Those closed doors of injustice mentioned earlier are perpetually knocked down in this one, as Laurie proves she’s a guitarist to reckon with on each and every track. Most of the album is a theme of sorts, one that runs the gamut of righteousness and the power of positive thinking.
"My Baby Says" is an ideal blues number. The Christine McVie façade in her voice makes way for background vocals possessing an Andrews Sisters air, where it all infuses into vigorously poignant harmonization. Though "One Little Thing" is like a slow blues in the vein of B. B. King’s "Thrill Is Gone" at the onset, the tune is all Laurie just as soon as the heartfelt vocal takes off. Again, I can’t help stressing the McVie semblance I perceive in her voice. This feature is amplified in the more contemporary and beautifully executed "Family Line", primarily because of the standout piano and fashionable vocal melody. The quality is a good one, as it’s a mere similarity and doesn’t eliminate Laurie’s originality one bit. "Family Line" is an incredibly beautiful and perfect song, and it’s an ideal example of Laurie’s ever-increasing proficiency as a songwriter. The melancholy mood the ballad purveys quickly vanishes when she breaks into "Wiggle Room". A supple wah-wah effect starts the instrumental. Kind of on a "Hideaway" path, it’s a wonderful display of the diversity and flexibility in her playing.
Another song on the new release raises the question "Where Are All The Girls With Guitars?" It’s not as much about nonexistence as it’s about telling them to stand up and take a rightful place in music. She aims a humorous and harmless jab at Wynonna Judd in the song’s lyrics as well. Upon reading that all the guitarists are actually guys in the country singer’s song "Girls With Guitars" (penned by Mary Chapin Carpenter), Laurie questions, "Where are the girls with guitars"?
Though many female guitarists exist on the scene today, many of whom are extremely talented, it’s accurate to say that female players in general, especially those in male dominated areas such as blues and rock, are still a minority in most circles. Indeed, it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to consider them virtually "underground." However, one who’s smokin’ good and a genuine hot item on the blues scene currently is Laurie Morvan. After listening to this lady for a while now, I can honestly say that I believe Stevie Ray Vaughan and even Freddie King would be smiling from one ear to the other upon hearing her play. They’d probably become huge fans.
Laurie was named Female Artist of the Year for 2006 by the Blues Marketing Network, a southern California group of blues music insiders and professionals. It’s undoubtedly a huge award for her, as it’s extremely gratifying for any performer to garner such recognition from their peers as well as other people in the know.
Below is the conversation I had with Laurie Morvan on June 6, 2007.
How did a young girl who grew up in rural Plainfield, Illinois get interested in playing the blues?
Laurie Morvan: You know, I think it was just good fortune that I happened upon it. I certainly didn’t grow up with it. My parents didn’t listen to the blues. My friends didn’t listen. Really, it was from being exposed to Stevie Ray Vaughan that I kind of went with this stuff. This is cool, I thought, and then it just resonated. I guess, as an artist, or a budding musician or young person, it just made sense to me. It just resonated through my whole body. It was something I was immediately drawn to and attracted to.
You’re a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in electrical engineering.
Was it an easy decision to leave the security of that business to join a touring band?
LM: It really wasn’t a hard decision. Being an engineer was kind of a means to get myself out of Plainfield, Illinois, if you will. It brought me to Los Angeles. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was ready to go. I made money as an engineer, and it got me established out here in California, and then I was gone, you know. Once I had the chance to play music full time I took off.
Sure. I enjoy your lead guitar playing style. You have such fluid movement and nice tone. Though you touched on Stevie Ray Vaughan already, are there other specific influences you credit for helping you develop that style?
LM: For me it was kind of a melting pot. I’m a sucker for a good song, and I’m a sucker for great playing in any genre. I listen to a lot of different stuff, and even though I loved Stevie’s music, I don’t necessarily sit and learn whet he does note for note. I listen more and I let things settle in. I’m really, really impressed by the country guys who play all that clean stuff. That was sort of my entrance into all the chicken pickin’ and stuff that I just love to do. It’s so clean and you have to be so good technically, and it’s very musical. When I practice, "creative practice" I call it, I let my hands kind of fiddle around on the guitar. I’ll hear something in my head and I’ll go after it technically.
In your opinion, do gender boundaries and challenges exist in the endeavor to become a successful blues guitarist? Is it a comfortable atmosphere for women out there these days?
LM: You know, let me put it this way, once you’re on the stage it’s comfortable. Nobody cares, and the fans are very open to a female guitar player. The difficulties lie in getting past the barriers of the talent buyers, I’m sad to say, who still want to categorize female guitarists as a novelty. I can’t believe this day and age that I’m saying it, because it’s much better than it used to be, but sometimes still, there are barriers that have to be overcome. You have to work so hard just to get the gig, and once you get it, you know ... I mean I’ve known an owner before, who’ll remain nameless, that said, "I’ll never book a girl guitar player. She’ll never play here." Finally, someone put in a good word for me. I got in and they booked me for eight more shows. The same people who said I’d never play there, because they had never heard me, there was that automatic barrier there. That’s what I’m talking about; they hadn’t even heard me yet. But that’s not every club. Some are very open. Some looked at it as a nice change of pace for their club. They give you the chance.
If some of the naysayers would just open up and take a look they’d see that there are really a lot of great female blues players out there today. Does a camaraderie or fellowship atmosphere exist between blues guitar women?
LM: Well, I don’t happen to know very many. I suppose we’re all off and kind of gigging and touring in our own little world. We’re all working and trying to make things happen. It hasn’t happened yet for me that I’ve gotten to really share the stage or do a festival or something with another player. But I think it would be great. I think it would be fun. I would look forward to that.
Your singing voice sometimes reminds me of Christine McVie. Has anyone ever mentioned that before?
LM: No. I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned that particular name, but I’m a fan of hers, so that’s cool. Thank you.
It’s more on the blues side, of course, but it does sound a lot like her at times, in my opinion anyway. But I’ve mentioned other names to other singers as a comparison and it’s sometimes like "I don’t know where the hell you got that idea." [Both laughing]
LM: It’s like taking a bite of food or something, and everyone saying what it reminds them of. It tastes like something else. There are certain aspects of a person’s voice, and their songwriting.
Cures What Ails Ya
Talk about the making of "Cures What Ails Ya." It’s actually your third CD.
LM: It’s my third CD, and I have to say that it was the greatest recording experience of my life. I had such a wonderful time making this CD. We had a budget, and we had plans for it, so we were able to make a pretty big budget record for being an independent artist. Getting to work with the caliber of people that I got to work with was just an incredible experience. At every level, from the engineer to the studio to the great guest artists we had on it, it was just a real highlight of my musical career so far.
I noticed that the bass player in the band has the same last name as you.
LM: Yes. He’s Pat Morvan, my ex-husband. We split up about twelve years ago, but we’re great friends and we kept the band going. Everybody gets along, so that’s a good thing.
Now, there’s a semblance to Christine McVie again.
LM: Yeah. There you go. [Both laughing] There’s our connection to Fleetwood Mac, if you will.
You played with George Duke for a while. Talk about that experience.
LM: Oh! That was so wonderful. George Duke is such a wonderful human being. He’s a beautiful and talented musician, and he’s a beautiful person on top of it. Getting to be in his studio and standing in the middle of his gold records and Grammys, it was really a great place to be. He brought so much to that song he played on, "Family Line". It just needed that kind of a player. I remember being in the studio, and when he was playing I was fighting back tears. I was so moved by it. It was wonderful.
You wrote most of the material on your three albums, including all twelve on "Cures What Ails Ya."
LM: Yes. I’ve written almost everything, except for about three songs on the second album.
Songwriting is obviously an integral part of your musical being. Does it come easy to you?
LM: You know, it gets easier and easier as the years go on. Songwriting, to me, is the most important aspect of being a musician. It has to start with a great song, and then you need great playing to support that great song. I spend as much time working on the craft of songwriting as I do working on the craft of guitar playing. Being a guitar player is so exciting and challenging. The guitar is this unending source of inspiration and wonder for me; it really is. I love to play the guitar. But to my thinking, if you don’t have a great song, then you’re just practicing. The song is the number one most important thing. My songwriting has continued to grow because I invest so much effort, love, and hard work into it. I do enjoy writing a good song. I’ll sit back and go "Wow! That came out of me." I feel so grateful.
Talking about great songs, "Kickin’ Down Doors" is just that. It really kicks, and it’s a good opener.
LM: I think we knew early on in the recording process that that song was going to be the album’s opener. It gives people a really good idea of who we are because we’re still introducing ourselves to the world at this point. Sometimes people don’t listen to a whole CD. I don’t mean someone who buys it; I‘m thinking maybe someone who’s scanning, a reviewer, or whomever. Sometimes they don’t get to listen to the whole thing. So we had to put that one right in there to say, "Okay. Here’s who we are".
The next song, "My Baby Says," is an ideal blues number. I see it as the quintessential blues song for the Laurie Morvan Band. It seems to contain all of the fine elements that make up an excellent electric blues.
LM: Thank you. I think you’re right. People dance to it a lot when we’re out at a live show. I start into that opening guitar riff and people come right up to the dance floor. It’s interesting that you say that; I would agree with it because even though it’s a new song for them I think it feels like a friend as soon as they start hearing it. It has nice harmonies, clever lyrics, and all of the elements we like to put into a song.
"One Little Thing" is a nice slow blues. You do an interesting solo midway thru. I noticed, after listening from the beginning of the album all the way up to it, that the solo in that one is kind of a fatter sound. Do you do something different, like switch from the bridge to the neck pickup?
LM: I basically live on my neck pickup. It’s my favorite place to be. I’ll use different pedals, though only a couple. I’ll use my Bluesdriver and my reissue Tubescreamer sometimes. With this album I was going after a real organic guitar sound. I didn’t want a very effected, overdriven sound. A lot of people are using a lot of distortion, and they sound great, but I wanted the tone on this album to be a little cleaner. You have to be a little more technically proficient to play cleaner, and it’s more challenging, but it was a purposeful decision. With "One Little Thing" I wanted more of a vulnerable and exposed tone to match the feeling of the song.
Talking earlier about the importance of good background vocals, when it comes to good melody and background vocals that add another dimension to the song, "Don’t Give It Up" comes to mind.
LM: We did some different things. In the verses, the background vocals sort of do the lead and then I answer back. When I first wrote the song, it was all me singing the lead vocal through the whole thing. Then we had the idea to let the background vocals sing the B part of the verse, or the second half of the verse, and then I answer. We thought it created a really nice vibe.
Yes, it did. You’ve got the wah-wah going in the intro to "Wiggle Room", which is kind of like a “Hideaway” instrumental.
LM: Yeah. It’s kind of an up-tempo, go after it song.
Players sometimes get carried away with effects. You have a good touch with the wah-wah. I know we’ve touched on this a bit already, but is it important for you to only use effects in small amounts?
LM: Yeah. The wah-wah is something you can fall in love with and just want to put everywhere. I like to use it for a flavor, and it just seems to add to the mood of that intro, and then wham! The song comes in. I put a little wah-wah thing in the middle of "Wiggle Room" as well, but the wah-wah can be a little overused. I like to use it for some seasoning. To me, you have to be subtle with the motion of a wah pedal. It gives it kind of a nicer sound. Subtlety is the key.
"In The River" is a potent and rocked up finally. It’s a really nice song.
LM: Thanks. We’ve gotten a lot of complements on that song. It has a good hook in it.
You were named "Female Artist of the Year" by the Blues Marketing Network on Sunday, April 8, 2006.
That must have been an exciting award to win, considering the fact that it’s an organization of blues musicians, promoters, venue owners, and other professionals in the business.
LM: It was. It’s a southern California organization. It was great, of course, to be recognized by those in the business. I didn’t know it was happening, or even going to be done beforehand.
That’s really cool.
Gear now. It’s mainly a Strat.
LM: Yeah. I play my Strat mostly, a 56 Fender reissue from the custom shop. Finding that guitar was quite an extravaganza. My friend has a vintage 1955 Strat, and it has this beautiful, singing tone. And it’s so light. My gosh, the thing weighs seven pounds. We took that everywhere with us, and we went all over trying to find a new guitar. I wanted a new one for the album. I had the sound I wanted in my head, and I knew I had to get a new one in order to get that sound. I tried hundreds of guitars, but nothing stood up to that singing tone. We finally found this guitar. A part of the tailpiece had been broken, so it had been in the store for a year or two. No one had been able to try it, and then the guy said, "Hey! Wanna try this one? We just got the replacement piece." Oh, sure, you know. So I plugged it in and then, oh, my gosh! I first played my friend’s ‘55 to tune up our ears, and then we plugged that guy in. It was one of those things where literally every head in the room turned and went "Wow!" With every guitar, it depends on how the wood comes together and all of the pieces. I knew right then; it was "Oh, my gosh!" Something was totally special here. And it was five minutes before closing time at the store. I couldn’t make that big of a decision then, so I had to wait a day. I immediately went back and got that guitar. I knew that it was really special once I heard it.
So that’s your main stage axe now.
LM: Exactly. That’s always in my hands.
It has one of those beveled gold pickguards on it.
LM: Yeah. It’s black with the gold pickguard. And for recording the new album I’ve got a Tone King Meteor II. It’s 40 watts, and it’s just a great amp. A guy in Maryland makes them one at a time. It’s all hand wired, all tube, and it’s a real creamy-buttery sounding amp. I’m real thrilled with it.
That’s great. Well, it would be nice to see you get out and do a big tour of the east coast, of the whole US and maybe more. I’m sure everyone who hears "Cures What Ails Ya" will be looking forward to seeing the Laurie Morvan Band.
LM: Yes. We’ve got to get that set up. We’re definitely in the market for a national booking agent. Since the new album has come out, doors are starting to open for us. We have a lot of momentum right now, and it’s a real exciting time in the band. I’m anxious to get out and bring my music around the country.
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"On her first widely distributed album and third overall, Morvan boasts a strong and limber voice, a..."On her first widely distributed album and third overall, Morvan boasts a strong and limber voice, an affinity for bending notes on guitar and a flair for writing songs about such matters as lasting romance and the importance of perseverance.
'One Little Thing,' inspired by B.B. King, makes for superior pop-blues. This blond and blue-eyed Californian favors content over effect in her music. Morvan's band and guests, including George Duke, share her vigorous charm."
"Morvan singes the strings..."
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"On the album's 12 original tunes, Morvan singes the strings with fast, clean chicken pickin', reach..."On the album's 12 original tunes, Morvan singes the strings with fast, clean chicken pickin', reaches lyrical ecstasy through liquid bends and kicks the rhythm in the pocket with propulsive comping.
...Stevie Ray Vaughan infuence, unlike so many others, she is no slavish imitator. This is abundantly clear on the 12 bar Texas shuffle instrumental, "Wiggle Room," where Morvan quotes classic Texas and Chicago riffs in the head, but then struts her own stuff in improvised solos with pugnacious double-stops and tightly coiled serpentine runs."
Adding to Morvan's freshness is her tone, which tends to be far less distorted, and more refined than most of her contemporaries.
Morvan's skill at (chicken pickin')...makes an appearance on "Where Are the Girls with Guitars" via fleet Southern-fried licks the late Danny Gatton would have admired.
"New CD chock full of great songs."
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Laurie Morvan writes from personal experiences, and one cut on her new CD, Cures What Ails Ya, came ...Laurie Morvan writes from personal experiences, and one cut on her new CD, Cures What Ails Ya, came directly from real life.
“Where Are the Girls With Guitars” tells the story of her bringing home Wynonna Judd’s “Girls With Guitars,” ripping the plastic wrap off, anxiously waiting to hear string bending by females. As the song tells, the record left her a bit disappointed.
“That song is a true story,” she said. “It happened to me just like the song says. I really, really thought there were going to be girls playing guitars on that song.” Instead, she saw the names of some of Nashville’s finest studio players. All males. Laurie says that sort of disappointment and the lack of opportunity for women guitarists helped fuel her drive to start her own band.
“For me it just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to pick up the guitar and play it. There have been times in my career where it’s been challenging to get gigs. I called one ad and the guy on the other end said, ‘You sound like girl.’ I thought, ‘Very good, you’re one–for-one.’ And then – and I’ll never forget his quote – he said to me, ‘Girls have innies, boys have outties, and it just doesn’t work.’
“How do you answer that? After that, I thought, ‘The only way I’m going to be successful, it appears, is if I grab the tiger by the tail and put myself in charge.’”
Morvan has done just that with the new CD chock full of great songs and lead guitar that might even grab the attention of ol’ Mr. Innie.
“I was real focused on making a record that would introduce me to the world as a songwriter, a guitar player, and a singer,” she said. “I feel really, really good about it. We chose the high road; when you’re making a record, you have a lot of choices to make, a lot of expenses, and decisions to deal with. I can genuinely say we took the high road on every turn and just said ‘What’s going to make this a better record?’.”
Her music days started back in Plainfield, Illinois, when she was a teenager playing flute in the school band and drums in the marching band… And then a buddy showed her his guitar. “I just went, ‘Oh, my God! This is way better than a flute!’” Time in the marching band helped develop her guitar style, she says, “I think it was good for me, rhythmically.”
Growing up, Morvan’s philosophy toward music was the same as it is now. “I listened to everything I heard, and I still do. I’m a very, very open listener. I always say I’m a sucker for a good song, regardless of genre.”
Asked her about influential guitarists, and her answer is a bit surprising to those who hear her clean percussive solos.
“Stevie Ray Vaughan was my gateway,” she said. “Me and about 800 million other players! I don’t try to emulate him, but his music just sort of opened that whole door to the blues.”
While her music is firmly entrenched in rock and blues, country players also have influenced her playing. “Guys like Danny Gatton. I like that clean, chicken pickin’ sound. Guys who I don’t even necessarily know their names. I don’t always learn the music, but because it’s bouncing around in my head, I go after that technique.”
The guitar Morvan used on Cures What Ails Ya – a Fender Custom Shop ’56 reissue Stratocaster – came to her as a result of a search up and down the West Coast.
“My friend, John Vestman, who is the mastering engineer on the record, has a ’55 Strat. It’s a beautiful guitar that just sings. So, we took it shopping with us all over Southern California, trying to find a guitar that sounded like it. I tried tons of Strats and even several other ’56 reissues from the Custom Shop. Finally, we were in a store, and there was one nobody had been able to play because of a broken piece on the bridge. The guy says, ‘We just got the piece in for that one. You want to try it?’ I played the ’55 first, because that’s how we would do it, so our ears would be tuned up. When I plugged in the ’56 reissue… it was the one! And I was beginning to think I’d never find one. The guitar means a lot to me because I went through a lot to find it.”
For acoustic work, she uses a ’72 Martin D-28. “I bought it in about 1981. I had to live on rice cakes and peanut butter to afford it, but it’s one of the greatest investments I’ve ever made. It stays pretty much at home and in the studio these days. I don’t take it to live shows.”
Her amp of choice is a Tone King Meteor II combo, a 40-watt head with a separate cabinet. The reissue Strat and the Tone King have given her the sound she’s always wanted. “I love my tone and have been getting a lot of comments at gigs lately about the sound,” she noted.
Morvan and her band have been gigging up and down the West Coast, and hope to expand that with the release of Cures and the word it’s spreading.
And as far as the gender issue goes, she says it’s nowhere near as big as it was in the past. “The audiences don’t care at all. They’re happy as a clam I’m female. It doesn’t bother them. I can’t get mad about that stuff. My job is just to go out and be undeniably good. I just have to do my thing and try to write great songs and go out and play great every night.”
"Morvan plays with plenty of imagination..."
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Fearless and fresh. Few standard blues records by non-major artists offer any surprises. But Lauri...Fearless and fresh. Few standard blues records by non-major artists offer any surprises. But Laurie Morvan adds a bit to the blues genre. Her songs aren’t all that different, but the playing is unique enough to make you take notice. Solos and fills lift this effort above your standard blues fare; Morvan plays with plenty of imagination and doesn’t rely on licks or tricks heard a million times.
Blues-rock songs dominate; “Kickin’ Down Doors” has a great lyric and opens with a lick that grabs. “Where Are the Girls With Guitars” has an extremely clever lyric and playing to match the message. Morvan has a surprising and pleasing grasp of chromatic licks, even on a good ol’ shuffle like “My Baby Says,” where she throws in a unique solo.
“One Little Thing” is a quiet minor-key tune that shows off her lyrical smarts and soulful playing. Lyrically, the same can be said for the piano ballad “Family Line,” while the instrumental “Wiggle Room” opens with wah and offers a relentless solo that show the true strength of her chops.
There’s a lot of talk in guitar circles about how women just don’t seem to cut it when it come to guitar playing. But Morvan’s work is fearless. Check it out, and you’ll see – the debate is over.
High energy mix of blues rockin' songs from the band's 4 CDs as well as very hip, stylized renditions of blues classics that the audience already loves. Laurie is an exceptionally engaging performer whose stories about the songs capture the interest of the audience so they can immediately connect to her through the music and performance.
Your audience will be on their feet - movin' and groovin' - and fully engaged with the excitement of a Laurie Morvan Band show! The LMB is always a crowd favorite at festivals - evidenced by the both the long autograph lines and the subsequent reviews in the press.