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Big City Blues Magazine - Cover Story



Laurie Morvan on cover of Big City Blues Magazine

Dec 09/Jan 10 issue
Belles of the Blues

Laurie Morvan on cover of Big City Blues magazine Dec 09 Jan 10

Pictured on cover (L to R):

Fiona Boyes, Laurie Morvan, Cafe R&B's Roach, Cookie "little Koko" Threatt, Susan Tedeschi and Taryn Donath (seated)

Want your own copy? visit: Big City Blues Magazine

Text of the article written by Roger & Margaret White:

Laurie Morvan - Playing Her Way

Laurie Morvan grew up outside Chicago in rural Plainfield.

"My best buddy had an acoustic guitar and I gave it a try. Oh my heavens, it was absolutely wonderful!" After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Electrical Engineering as well as a commercial pilot license, she took a job in aerospace and moved to Los Angeles. She joined a rock'n'roll cover band as a rhythm guitarist and vocalist. "It was then that I got my first Stratocaster, it was red and shiny and sexy, and I was home, baby! I quit my engineering job never to return."

After years of playing on the road and experiencing many frustrating and often disrespectful times, "I decided to start my own band and make the boys audition for me. I've been a band leader calling the shots ever since."

Laurie says it was the music of Stevie Ray Vaughn that turned her around and brought blues front and center: "I realized quickly that this was what I was born to do." To get the music out to the masses meant recording. Rather than going to a record company, this can-do girl set about doing it herself. I got a Master's Degree in Applied Mathematics from California State University and taught math classes to raise recording money." Her CDs "Find My Way Home" "Cures What Ails Ya" and "Fire It Up" represent the power, versatility and passion of the Laurie Morvan Band. A finalist in the 2008 International Blues Challenge, with her newest CD she strikes a blend of vocals and guitar.

"We're proud of Fire It Up; it was recorded in San Francisco. Steve Savage and I produced it together, and it was really enjoyable working with him. He's worked with a lot of great people and if you're open to hearing what someody has to say, you can make a better product and have a great time doing it." The band is a double trio of bass, drums with Laurie on guitar and vocals with two backup singers." One of the things that makes us different is our focus on harmonies. It was so much fun coming up with these vocal arrangements. The three of us, Lisa, Carolyn and I would kick around ideas, and working on the harmonies was one of the most joyful parts of making this new record Fire It Up."

What were the main influences in your life?

My first influence was pop music on the radio. From the time I was little, my Mom and I were on our own, and my mom is a huge influence on my life and instilled good values in me. My extended family all lived near, so I was blessed with a sense of family growing up. Next would be my high school track coach; she would challenge you to try everything. In terms of music I would say, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the music captivated me and lit me on fire.

Was Janis Joplin an influence?

When Janis was making music, it was to see how far they could push the boundary. I'm a contemporary blues rock artist; I like to push the boundaries. I see the blues for what it can be not just for what it was.

Do you play any instruments besides guitar?

I played flute in school band, though I wouldn't try to book a gig playing it. But I've been thinking I should get it out of the closet. I was also in drum corps, I got good rhythmically and I think that's why my guitar playing is so in sync with my drummer.

How long have you been playing professionally?

Over 20 years.

If you were not a musician what career might you have?

I went to college on a volleyball scholarship, and I might have gone on to be a pro beach player or an airline pilot. But I can't imagine my life without being a musician.

Is it still a man's world?

The fans are totally open to have a woman up on stage. The business side - that's where things can be more challenging for a woman. In my song, "Livin' In a Man's World," the point is all about self empowerment. If barriers are put in front of you, so what, everybody has hardships.

Any hobbies?

When I get the time I love to go backpacking in the mountains - it clears my head.

Favorite big cities?

San Francisco is just so pretty and Chicago is great. I live in Long Beach in L.A., and it's a big change from Plainfield, IL.

Best thing about the music business?

Meeting the fans. Blues fans are the best, the connection you make with them when you're playing songs that come from your heart and they come up after a show and share how a song relates to their life. That's so powerful, they walk away feeling a little better.

Worst thing about the music business?

The hardest part is keeping your band working, finding enough quality gigs in terms of making a living. There are fewer venues, and you have to travel farther to reach those venues.

What was your favorite thing about the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise?

Getting to play with so many talented musicians, I got to sit in with people and others sat in with me. Sharing music with other musicians is just a fantastic experience. The entire Blues Cruise is really great.

Any last word?

Thank you to all the fans, they are what keeps me going - I love every minute I'm on stage.

Copyright ©2024 Laurie Morvan Band