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Morvan sets blues on fire

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star, Whittier Daily News - July 27, 2007
Flipside > Local Musician
by Michelle J. Mills
   
Laurie Morvan plays Hot Modern Blues Rock

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 California.

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 and singing.

"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 with friends.

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," Morvan said.

 
 
 
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