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Southland Blues Magazine - Cover and Feature Story



Laurie Morvan

Southland Blues Magazine - July 2007
by Pete Sardon
Southland Blues Magazine

Hailing from Plainfield, Illinois, Laurie Morvan was surrounded by lots of music as her dad was into country sounds, her mom listened to pop tunes and young Laurie enjoyed rock 'n' roll. She got her musical start in school bands by playing the flute for concert season and the drums during marching season.

"When I was a teenager, a buddy had an acoustic guitar and I said, 'Oh what's that?' And when I played it I said 'Oh My God - the whole world changed!' I started playing guitar and got more and more into it, and it became my life's passion," Laurie shares. "I figured that every musician has to earn money outside of music and I decided that I had to make sure that I could make some money." A bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at University of Illinois and a move to California to obtain her masters in Applied Mathematics at Cal State Long Beach (home of the Long Beach Blues Festival) assured that premise. After working as an engineer at TRW for a few years, Laurie began to play music full time. "In the 80's I lived on rice cakes and peanut butter till I bought my acoustic Martin D28. I learned to play guitar by listening to my favorite songs and playing along. I spent hours on the guitar. Shortly after that I decided that I wanted to play lead guitar and so I got myself a Les Paul Custom, but shortly after that I decided that I was a Strat girl after playing a Stratocaster. I purchased a red Strat then which I still have.

I played top forty songs with several bands but I found out that some bands didn't want a girl lead guitarist so I started my own band," she shares. "Forming my own band was the greatest thing in the world. I've been lucky finding people who enjoy playing the music that I write and we all get along."{ The band consists of Kevin Murillo on drums, Pat Morvan (her ex-husband) on bass, Lisa (Grubbs) Morvan and Carolyn Kelley on background vocals.

"A friend of mine turned me on to Stevie Ray Vaughan and through Stevie I could see that he shone the light back upon all of the people who had influenced him. When I discovered the blues I said, 'Oh My God - this is what I'm going to do with my life!' My music is such an amalgam. I like a well-written song in any genre. I think that the most important thing that you can do as a musician is to write a great song. I spend as much time on my song writing as I do on my guitar playing. I want to be able to write a song that somebody wants to listen to over and over again and connect with, and then the guitar playing on top of this moves them further into the song" Laurie explains. "I spend a lot of time with my guitar in my hands. I walk around my house with my guitar in my hands and play unplugged. Practicing this way, I think that it makes you play cleaner - you can't cheat.

Songs come in several ways: I may feel it in the back of my mind and the topic is oftentimes something I'm working through in my life. One day when I'm picking up my guitar, boom! - out it comes and I write the words into a notebook. Whatever I'm doing, if the words come to me I stop and attend to those words as they are gifts and you have to respond when you're given that gift. Right now my cell phone is full of messages to myself singing songs," she reveals.

"My main guitar now is a Fender '56 Custom Shop reissue Stratocaster in black with a gold pickguard - it feels like home and it's a joy to pick up and play. I purchased my wonderful Tone King Meteor II 40 watt twin twelve amp just before I recorded my new CD Cures What Ails Ya. My sister works at a Post Office in Cincinnati and she sold fifty CDs in one week just by letting her coworkers hear my recording! The title comes from the song "One Little Thing" as Laurie explains that you have to find that "one little thing that cures what ail ya. My belief in life is that is how we get through and for me, music is that thing. It's what fixes anything that's ever been wrong with me."

Her advice for the next blues generation is for new musicians "to follow their passion. Follow where your heart takes you and then pursue it with fervor and veracity and passion and love and respect. They should go wherever they want to go with it. I would never tell anyone that 'you need to play the blues this way.' Work hard and practice and follow the sound that you hear in your head."

In responding to those in the Southland who have come out to see her perform, Laurie humbly says, "I genuinely appreciate the audiences that we get to play for - they are so receptive to us. The music business can be difficult but you put us on a stage and people respond, and the outpouring that we get from the Southern Califfornia blues and blues/rock crowd means so much as they come up to us and say how the music touches them. I am really appreciative of that."

You can catch Laurie Morvan and her band live at the Huntington Beach Hyatt on July 14th and at Steve's BBQ in Whittier on July 28th. All three of her CDs can be obtained via her website at www.lauriemorvan.com. Her song, "Kickin' Down Doors" has been selected as the "Blues Breaker" song of the week for the "House of Blues Radio Hour" Hosted by Dan Akroyd and will air on the weekend of July 7th and 8th.

Copyright ©2021 Laurie Morvan Band