Blues Blast Magazine - Featured Blues Review
Laurie Morvan - Gravity
CD Review by Steve Jones
Feb 23, 2018, Issue 12-8
This is guitar slinger Laurie Morvan’s sixth CD. She wrote all the songs and is featured on guitar and vocals. Tony Braunagel produced the album and is part of the band; they are Bob Glaub on bass, Braunagel on drums and percussion, Mike Finnigan and Jim Pugh and Barry Goldberg on keys and Lisa Morvan on backing vocals. Braunagel has brought in his “crew” of musicians and they deliver a smooth and tight performance in support of Morvan. Recorded at Ultratone Studios, this project was slated for 2014 but an unfortunate wrist fracture sidelined Morvan and required two surgeries to correct it.
Hailing from Long Beach, California Morvan first came into the limelight as a finalist in the 2008 IBC as a band and for best self produced CD with Cures What Ails Ya. In 2010 her album Fire It Up won the Best Self Produced CD award and was again a semi-finalist in 2012 with her 2011 release Breathe Deep.
Things begin with “My Moderation,” a cut where Morvan sings that her moderation needs to be held in check with moderation. She tells us life is too short to take it slow so instead of holding back just let go. There is some nice guitar work here and the B3 by Finnigan stands out, too. Morvan delivers a stellar solo on “Twice the Trouble” that is up next. “Stay With Me” follows, a cool, slow blues with Finnigan on B3 and Pugh on piano. Morvan offers a thoughtful solo on this one. “Money Talks” features Goldberg on the piano and he delivers a fine performance as Morvan bemoans her money waving goodbye as it flies out the door. Her guitar work is spot on once again, Finnigans B3 lends a great hand, too. Next is “The Extra Mile,” a song with a bit of a funky, slow groove. Morvan’s guitar plays a big part in this one. The title track concludes the first half of the set. Morvan mixes physics and emotions to express the attraction of her to her love. It’s a pretty blues ballad with her wife Lisa singing along with her.
Things pick up a bit with “Dance in the Rain” as Morvan sings and picks in this lively cut. Morvan is featured with another big solo on guitar and Pugh’s B3 fills in admirably. Up next is “Gotta Dig Deep,” a slower tempo-ed piece about having to gut out thing when life gets tough. Another tasty solo for Morvan here, too. “The Man Who Left Me” features Morvan and four backing vocalists. This is a mournful tune about the first man who loved her and then left her after 5 years, her Father. Morvan and Company take us to church as she tells us about her search for her father. “Shake Your Tailfeathers: is a bit more positive and picks up the pace a tad. This is a song about shaking your tailfeathers to break the spell of being down. A soulful guitar a la BB King, B3 and a little piano are up front. “I Want Answers” follows, a more up tempo cut but still with some negativity to the topic. The quartet of backing vocalists return to respond to the call and provide a cool backdrop. Pugh’s piano and organ gets some time and Morvan’s guitar is center stage as the song builds to a big conclusion. The final cut gets a little funky; “Too Dumb to Quit” is a slow to mid tempo song about not being able to recognize that the relationship needed to end and that it went on too long. More mournful guitar with some well done slide and vocals filled with despair are displayed here for all to witness.
Morvan’s guitar work is solid and never overdone. Her vocals take on a breathy sort of husky tone. The songs here tend toward being down tempo and somber in nature which could give the listener a good case of the blues. The album is quite good. Morvan is a pro and Braunagel’s watchful ear made sure everything sounds and plays out tightly and succinctly. It’s good to have her back after that layoff!
Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.