Southland Blues Cover Story article text
by Pete Sardon
Cover and inside photos by Bob Hakins
The Laurie Morvan Band
Featuring the Multi-Talented Singer, Songwriter & Guitarist
The Laurie Morvan Band consists of Laurie Morvan on guitar and vocals, Lisa (Grubbs) Morvan on backup vocals, Pat Morvan on bass, Tommy Salyers on keyboards and Lonnie Jones on drums. Her style of Blues is direct, musical and she possesses the triple threats of songwriting, singing and enviable guitar playing.
Some of her accomplishments to date include winning the 2010 Blues Foundation Award for Best Self-Produced Blues CD and the fact that her touring schedule has been increasing each year. Currently Laurie Morvan has five CDs available at her website: www.LaurieMorvan.com. She will be touring the Midwest part of the USA in June and July, and will be back out West after that. Laurie and her band toured Europe last October.
I asked her to share an unusual “on the road” story with our readers. It goes like this: “Our drummer was ill so Etta James’ son, Donto, did a summer tour with us on drums. We were staying at this motel that had mice, so Donto went out and bought chicken strips and put them around his bed so the mice would eat the chicken strips instead of biting on his toes. It must have worked because in the morning the chicken strips were gone and his toes were fine!” A new breakthrough in folk medicine that you first read about in Southland Blues Magazine!
Laurie plays two 1956 Fender Custom Shop Stratocasters, a black and gold model affectionately called “Goldie” and a sunburst model appropriately called “Sunny.” She favors a Tone King Meteor II amp when performing and to understand the power of her Blues playing, Laurie took a Tone King Metropolitan combo amp to sit in at a gig with Chris Duarte and during the course of her impassioned playing, she blew out her amp!
“After our summer tour, I’ll begin writing for my new CD in September. The way I write songs is that I feel a song coming in the back of my brain and it will slowly reveal itself to me and I’ll pick up my guitar and walk around the house playing it unplugged until the song comes to the front of my brain and says, ‘Here I am, let me out!’
I see things in the world and it just triggers something in me and the songs are in me just waiting to be born. I love to write songs. I think that writing songs is the single greatest joy in the world. I love that creative process and try to get the best way to say it in the most succinct way. The songs come to fruition and I record them and it means something to someone else and they’ll tell me at a show what the song meant to them. It’s just such a beautiful moment in a songwriter’s life.
When I’m walking around creating a song, the words and the music kind of come together. Sometimes I’ll just get an idea for a hook of a song or I’ll see something and say something out loud to myself and I’ll go, ‘Ooh, that’s going to be a good song!’ I’ll get home and get a groove going and start singing the song. In the olden days, I would call my home phone and leave a little message for myself and now I can just record into my iPhone!
I can remember when I was 18, my buddy and I had cassette decks and we’d record into one cassette deck and then bounce it down into another cassette deck, rerecord it and bounce it down again and then do a fourth overdubbing - it was just hilarious! Now people can have a state of the art studio in their homes with all this multi-track software. I use the product called Nuendo on my computer.
Asked what she’d like to be doing in five years, Laurie said, “Gosh - you know, I’d sure like to see us playing about 30 festivals a year. I love to play at festivals as it’s a beautiful day everybody is out to have a good time and they’re all in a good mood and the sound systems are good – almost any band would say that they love to play at festivals.
“What matters in the music world today is being famous. Some people say, ‘Well, with the internet anyone can release a record.’ But really, I suppose you could say that’s true but there are probably about 85 billion records floating around the internet so it’s very hard to break through all that noise to get heard. I don’t send things to music business people unsolicited and I don’t use a booking agent. Somehow I hope that organically we’ll hook up with somebody who can help us. We just need that one good break, but in the meantime we’re working hard. And what’s important to me is that I put out the best record that I could possibly make, then go out and play my heart out for people. That’s kind of my business model as that’s what it’s been.
Hopefully we’ll increase our audience. I don’t pretend to know all of the ins and outs of the intricacies of the music business but there’s more than one way to make it. I know that there’s not one fixed set of rules. People make it all kinds of ways: some people have a famous parent, some get lucky and someone famous takes them under their wing.”
“It’s getting more and more challenging to play in L.A. as there are fewer and fewer really dedicated blues venues. The Arcadia Blues Club is still playing good Blues and I want to invite Southern California to come hear us play on July 19, 2013. Blues fans, come on out and hang out with the Laurie Morvan Band – we’d love to meet you! To the fan of ours for years, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Sounds like a winning proposition. Hope to see our readers there!
For more information be sure to visit www.LaurieMorvan.com.