Singer-songwriter Gurf Morlix to visit Elk Creek Cafe
MILLHEIM – American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Gurf Morlix will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Elk Creek Cafe, 100 W. Main St.
Morlix said he performed solo “not very often” before meeting former musical partner Lucinda Williams, the partnership for which he is best known.
Yet his musical career has been much more than that; he has produced a total of eight albums from his own works, and helping produce records by musicians such as Robert Earl Keen, Mary Gauthier, Ian McLagan and Slaid Cleaves.
“I’ve been doin’ this for a long time, and have been lucky enough to produce albums for some of the songwriters I consider to be among the best in the business,” Morlix said.
Morlix, a Buffalo, N.Y., native said, “I was obsessed with music, from the first time I heard something I liked.”
Morlix began to play professionally by his mid-teens, starting out on the bass guitar.
“Upright bass was first because the tuning was the same as the bottom four strings of the guitar,” Morlix said. “I was obsessed with playing the guitar long before I managed to get my hands on one.”
Band mates from his teen years turned him on to the likes of country icon Lefty Frizzell, who remains an influence, along with “Elvis on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ The Beatles on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ Hank Williams. Muddy Waters. And anything I’ve ever heard that I flat out loved,” said Morlix.
By the time Morlix had finished high school, he decided to set out for warmer climates, first for Key West, Fla., then finally settling in Austin, Texas.
“I do miss Buffalo, but I visit a lot. I have a lot of friends there. I needed more opportunity, and Austin was the perfect place to go in 1975,” Morlix said on his big east-to-south move.
Morlix settled on a blend of country for his personal musical style, saying, “I’ve always been drawn to the great songs and the great songwriters. Mix that in with my love for deep blues, country music and rock and roll and I end up right here.”
After staying in Texas for a few years, Morlix decided to move to Los Angeles, where he first found Lucinda Williams.
“We met in Los Angeles in the mid ’80s. We hit it off and I ended up being her band leader and record producer,” Morlix said.
From 1985 to 1996, he became her accompanist as they toured together. Morlix produced two of Williams records for her, “Lucinda Williams” and “Sweet Old World.”
After becoming involved in the production of her third album, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” Morlix became frustrated with delays involving the album and eventually decided to part ways with Williams two years before the album made it to release.
Morlix said of performing solo, “I find it completely empowering. I love playing with a great band, but that’s not always feasible. Playing solo is the most intimate way to reach an audience.”
In 1991, Morlix returned to Texas, and in 2000 his solo career really began to take off, when he released his debut album, “Toad of Titicaca.”
In 2004, he was inducted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame and in 2005 was also inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. “[It’s] quite an honor, as you can imagine. I don’t really dig awards, but it’s nice to know that others appreciate what you’re doing,” Morlix said.
On his favorite song to perform live, he said “No way for me to answer that. I sing songs that I love. All of ’em.” At Elk Creek Cafe, Morlix will be performing “a bunch from my new album, ‘Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense,’ some from some of my other albums and some songs by other people that I just love to sing.”
Morlix already has eight albums out and has plans for a ninth in the works.
“I’ve got enough songs for my next album, but I have to wait a while. Can’t pop ’em out too often, you know. And I have more production projects coming up soon as well,” Morlix said.
Yet after performing, recording and producing for so many years, Morlix can still find a way to relax.
“I spend the summers at a cabin in Canada. I fish and boat and chop wood and write songs. I come back completely recharged,” Morlix said.
“I’m still in search of the perfect song, and the perfect sounds. And I just want to play my songs for anyone who’s willing to listen,” Morlix said.
For more information on Gurf Morlix, visit www.gurfmorlix.com.