"...a blend of blues,
rock and pop...Stevie Ray Vaughan meets Bonnie Raitt."
Laurie Morvan will find her way home next week, returning
to Plainfield to perform in front of family and friends
for the first time with her band. The Laurie Morvan Band,
based out of Long Beach, California, will be in town in
time for Plainfield Fest, when they will perform at Gruben's
"We're coming into town and finally getting to
do a show," said Morvan. "I've done all
of my performing on the west coast, so my family, friends
and the people I grew up with have never seen me perform."
Then known as Laurie Watters, Morvan graduated as salutatorian
from Plainfield High School in 1979.
Morvan, who serves as singer, songwriter and guitarist for
the band, has an unlikely day job for a rock star, however. The
2000 Plainfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductee
earned her master's degree in applied mathematics
and is a math instructor at Cypress College in Cypress,
"I'm a busy person, there's no doubt,"
said Morvan, who formed the band, then known as Backroad
Shack, in 1993. "I don't watch a lot of TV."
Rounding out the band are Pat Morvan on bass, Carolyn Kelley
on keyboard and flute, Lisa (Grubbs) Morvan on keyboard and violin
and Tony Barach Dennis on the drums. Kelley and Pat Morvan
also work as teachers, giving several of the band members
summers free to devote to their music. "We're
lucky most of the band members have such flexible schedules,"
Morvan, who headed to California in 1984 to be close to
the Los Angeles music scene, also gave up a high-paying
engineering job to focus on her band. "I work
all day and then I work on music at night," she said.
Morvan described the band's sound as a blend
of blues, rock and pop. "It's Stevie Ray
Vaughan meets Bonnie Raitt," she said.
What are some of Morvan's other musical influences? "I
grew up absolutely loving bands like Heart, The Pretenders
and The Go Go's," she said. "I've
also always loved southern rock," Morvan added, saying
the group's style is closer to the Allman Brothers
Morvan said she does most of the songwriting herself,
with the band collaborating to arrange the music.
She said she uses her own life – whether it's
tragic or joyful-as an inspiration for her lyrics. "It's
just whatever's going on in my life," Morvan
said, "or whatever I happen to be thinking about."
The band released its first album, titled "Out Of
The Woods," in 1997. Appropriately, the new
album, "Find My Way Home," was released just
in time for the group's trip to Plainfield. The
Laurie Morvan Band will perform at 9:00 p.m. Friday, July
16, at Grugben's Uptown Tap, 512 Lockport Street.
For more information on the band, visit www.lauriemorvan.com.
Copies of the group's albums are available on the
site, said Morvan. "The internet really changed
the world of music for the good and for the bad,"
she said, laughing. "We sold a CD to a guy in Hong
Kong because of the internet."
As for her return journey to Plainfield, Morvan said she
can't wait. "I'm so excited."