Gurf Morlix

I recently heard some of his songs and he reminded me of Leonard Cohen only better, more compelling. At first thought it sounded like raw in the gutter type music, but the songs just draw you in. 

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Gurf was a major force behind Lucinda's early career rise. His understated, supportive playing is an exercise in how to back up a singer. Not flashy-- just very tasteful-- for those who appreciate that sort of thing. 

Check out the performances from her her first Austin City Limits appearance on youtube. (Hint-- the show where her hair is blonde). 



Gurf was Lucinda’s guitarist/harmony singer/bandleader/producer (along with Dusty Wakeman, partner with Dwight Yoakam’s guitarist Pete Anderson of a recording studio in Burbank. Wakeman is also a very good bassist. He had Fender make him a 3-string bass ;-) from the time of her s/t album on Rough Trade (she had two earlier albums on Folkways Records---Ramblin’ and Happy Woman Blues) through her breakout album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. I saw she and Gurf and their small band (drummer David Lindley and upright bassist John Ciambotti, along with an accordion player) a number of times in the late-80’s and into the 90's on small stages around L.A. (one time in a pizza parlour!).

The recording of CWOAGR was so grueling (Lucinda recorded the album three times before she was satisfied with the results) Gurf left Lucinda’s employ and relocated to Austin to live and work. He has produced two fantastic albums for Mary Gauthier---Mercy Now and Filth & Fire, and has recorded and released a number of his own solo albums (I have two of them, gotta get the rest). @stuartk is absolutely correct; Gurf Morlix is an unusually tasteful musician.

Don’t forget that Gurf produced three albums for Ray Wylie Hubbard between 1997 and 2005, Dangerous Spirits, Growl and Delirium Tremelos.  There may be more.

If you like Gurf you’ll probably like Ray Wylie. Part II (the sober part) of Ray Wylie’s career started in 1992 with Lost Train of Thought. He’s put out a number of good albums. The ones Gurf was involved with are a good place to start or you can just start at the beginning. Definitely worth checking out.

Maybe Leonard Cohen wasn,t the best comparison, Tom Waits is a better one. I really liked Lucinda's Car Wheels on a gravel road, and I thought that Steve Earl was a big influence on her. He sounds original, I can hear his mother asking him what he did with the money she gave him for singing lessons though. It sounds like he's been around for a while from what you guys are saying and I'll have to check his those albums that was mentioned.

Oops, Lucinda's drummer was Donald Lindley, not David (Dave's a mighty fine stringed instrument player). Donald died quite a while back, David's still with us.

@stuartk I checked out that YT video you mentioned and was intrigued by another live one of Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson doing "Overtime" and was quite moved by it. Thanks!.

Saw Gurf with Lucinda at Maxwells in Hoboken around the time Passionate Kisses was released. Just the two of them with guitars and about 15 of us in the audience standing and swaying about 10 feet away. I’ll never forget that show!

He ain't no Tom Waits either.

Maybe Leonard Cohen wasn,t the best comparison, Tom Waits is a better one. 


You’re welcome. Note that the youtube  ACL performances I mentioned with Gurf are from 1989.

In retrospect, I guess I should've said his playing with her is "exemplary" or "provides a text book example of how to back up a singer".  The best words don't always strike me, immediately. ;o)





Lucky you!  

The closest experience I've had to that was seeing the Hot Band (without EmmyLou) in a tiny cafe in Santa Barbara in the late 70's, with Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee and Frank Reckard in attendance. 


Cool @stuartk! Speaking of Albert Lee, I saw him live in a small club in Ventura, just south of Santa Barbara. I never managed to see him playing with The Everly Brothers, damnit.

It's always a treat to catch such greats in small venues. I saw Albert at a small theater in Grass Valley (Center for the Arts), sitting in with a local band. He also did a couple solo tunes on piano. BTW, I lived in Santa Barbara '76 - '82. That town was a paradise for music lovers. My wife and I and all our friends lived in little shacks, but the music scene was great.  Eventually, the high cost of living there  compelled us to move away but it was fun for awhile. 

Whatever positive expertise he brought to Lucinda's work is a positive.