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Laurie Morvan Band plays blues, rock 'n' roll

The Enterprise - July 7, 2004, Arts & Activities section
By Shannon McCarthy
   
The Enterprise Newspaper


"...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 Uptown Tap.

"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, California.

"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," said Morvan.

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 Band.

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."
 
 
 
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