Written by James Killen
Mar 29, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageGurf Morlix appeared Friday night at Anderson Fair to promote his latest album, Gurf Morlix- “Finds the Present Tense”(He never says the title of the album without preceding it with his name). Throughout the evening, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Gurf repeatedly referred to it as “the feel good album of the year”.

One gets the gist of the dark themes visited by this production through tunes with titles like “My Life’s Been Taken”, “Series of Closing Doors”, “You Walk Away” and “Empty Cup”. You begin to think that there ought to be a free prescription to Prozac with each copy of the disc. Gurf himself, though, is far from a dark and morose character, filling the time between songs with jokes and stories from his many years in the music business.

Morlix first appeared in the Texas music scene as part of Blaze Foley’s band splitting the late 70’s and early 80’s between Houston and Austin. He spent eleven years playing with Lucinda Williams and did session work or produced records for Ian Mcglagan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, and Slaid Cleaves, among others. He set up a studio on the outskirts of Austin in the late 90’s and has produced music for many artists and began recording a few of his own.

A couple of years ago, Gurf Morlix recorded an album of Blaze Foley’s songs and went on a world tour performing Blaze’s songs after the showing of a documentary on Foley. Gurf’s effort along with that of the film’s producer, Kevin Triplett, is responsible for the newly expanded awareness of the Blaze Foley song catalogue.

Gurf started out the evening playing “One More Second” from “The Last Exit to Happyland”, about revenge, murder, and regret just to set the tone. Most of the evening was spent on songs from “Present Tense”, like the dark chord progressions of “Lookin’ for You” and the Roy Rogers memories that have been a part of America’s modern gun culture featured in the number “Bang, Bang, Bang”. One of the phrases in that song, “…going out in a blaze of glory” was a reference to the untimely death of Gurf’s close friend, Blaze Foley.

In addition to his own songs, Morlix covered Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man”, Jimmy Reed’s “Take Out some Insurance” and Blaze’s tune, “Cold, Cold World”. He ended the first set with some gentle Celtic guitar work on the 400 year old pub song, “The Parting Glass”.

Over the course of the evening, he shared stories about catching a five pound bass at the lake behind his cabin, bringing it up to the house and showing it a few seconds of TV before tossing it back to swim off. He claimed that the word must have gotten around the lake because the fishing got better when all of the fish wanted to check out all of the colors of the upper world. He also told the story about being kicked out of Starbucks in Amsterdam after his friend told him that he could get hashish at the coffee shops there.

Gurf closed out the night with his own “Voice of Midnight” in which Morlix might as well have been plucking your heartstrings as the guitar strings and the finale, the bumping, gospel bass line of The Blind Boys of Alabama’s “The Last Time”.

For all of the dark themes, Gurf stated that he wanted to leave everyone with the thought that you should enjoy your friends and loved ones whenever you are with them, as you never know when it will be the last time you see them. That one statement of the evening tied together the apparent dichotomy of Morlix’s warm personality and the dark themes of his music. The next time Gurf wanders through town, check out his entertaining hospitality.