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Gurf Morlix

Diamonds to Dust – 2007 (Blue Corn)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Gurf Morlix

It's not too difficult to see why Lucinda Williams was drawn to Gurf Morlix as a producer. Whether he's balladeering with a dusty intensity or churning through fist-pumping roadhouse anthems, Morlix's rootsy Americana soundtrack, appropriately scratchy vocal presence and brilliant capacity for personal/universal songcraft is nearly the bookend to Williams' similarly and powerfully constructed alt.-country musings. Morlix even drawls his lyrics with the same laconic fervor as Williams.

On his fourth solo album, Morlix perfects as an artist the "growl" factor that he has always sought as a producer. With a grizzled smoothness that suggests Tom Waits if he'd chosen to pursue his early folk troubadour direction ("Madalyn's Bones"), mixed with shades of Lucinda's bluesy stomp ("Food, Water, Shelter & Love," "Up Against It"), John Fogerty's chooglin' slink ("Worth Dyin' For") and direct and indirect tributes to Bob Dylan (a timely cover of "With God on Our Side" and the original ode "Need You Now"). The beauty of Morlix's presentation - here in particular and in his catalog in general - is that although his sound may hint at a variety of other artists, his originality shines through any superficial comparisons.