A tall, blue-eyed blonde walks
up to the microphone, guitar in hand and confidence in
her soul. Skillfully she launches into a set of hot modern
blues that brings to mind a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan
and Bonnie Raitt.
"I feel blessed. I don't take any of this for granted,
I take it all in, I enjoy every good thing that happens
and appreciate it," Laurie Morvan said.
The Long Beach resident fronts the Laurie Morvan Band
and has plenty to be grateful for, such as her March release,
"Cures What Ails Ya" (Screaming Lizard Records).
The 12-track effort features appearances by jazz pianist
George Duke, Bonnie Raitt bassist James "Hutch"
Hutchinson and Grammy-winning drummer Tony Braunagel and
has been getting the band a lot of attention. The group
spent the first weekend of July as the Blues Breaker Band
on the House of Blues Radio Hour hosted by Dan Akroyd
and they've also been gigging continuously throughout
Morvan grew up in Illinois and played flute and drums
during high school. In her late teens, a friend introduced
her to the guitar, which quickly led to writing songs
"I played in rock and roll cover bands, that's how
I learned to play guitar. I'd go home every night, listen
to whatever song we were learning for the band and learn
the guitar parts, and learn how to sing it and get ready
to perform," Morvan said.
The same friend turned Morvan onto the music of Stevie
Ray Vaughan. She immediately realized that the blues was
her calling. But before embarking full-bore on a music
career, Morvan obtained a degree in electrical engineering
from the Univerity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A move to California would take her a step closer to
a musical future, so Morvan landed a job in aerospace
in Los Angeles, which she later quit to tour.
"Even as a young kid I knew I loved music, but I
knew that to record records it took money and if some
job is going to take me away from music for part of my
day, then I'm going to make money. I'm not going to deliver
pizzas," Morvan said. To finace her recording now,
Morvan teaches math at Cypress College.
Morvan penned all the songs for "Cures What Ails
Ya." "I put my guitar on and I start free-form
playing and there will be a song, I feel it coming in
the back of my head is the best description I can give.
I can feel it coming, I'll have a mood or an idea or a
concept and bam - the music and the lyrics all come together
usually," Morvan said.
When she's not performing or writing, Morvan is rehearsing,
working on booking and doing all the other duties that
go with running a band. Her only real break is the one
week she spends each summer in the Sierras backpacking
Despite her talent, Morvan still has to deal with being
a woman in a male-dominated industry. She takes club snubs
and being ignored in music stores in stride.
"You have to choose, as a human being, either you're
going to be mad about that kind of stuff or you're just
going to go, 'My job is just to work hard and when II
get my opportunities and the light shines upon me I'm
going to make sure the light is illuminating something
worthy of people's attention.' That's the path I've chosen,"