Black Music Matters Festival

Gurf Morlix

Toad of Titicaca – 2000 (Ceili Music)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

Years after leaving Lucinda Williams over the oft-used excuse "creative differences," Gurf Morlix is back on record with an interesting, low-key first effort that has the Texas guitarist wearing a wide variety of hats.

It's not quite appropriate to compare this work past production efforts by Morlix. Even though "Lucinda Williams" and "Sweet Old World" have a very different mix of elements - the primary one being Williams' poetic lyricism - you can definitely see Morlix's hand in the arrangements. And it's not really fair to relegate this to the category of "producer's holiday," the kind of album that Pete Anderson or Daniel Lanois might make with a ring of former clients and a sheaf of interesting ideas. Here, Morlix tries his hand at organ-guitar stomps like "Feel Free" that have the texture of songs like Williams' own "Hot Blood" or "Six Blocks Away," and might help fans understand how he helped the singer bring her songs to life.

Other tunes show the musician stepping out more firmly on his own - musically and emotionally."Fallin' Off The Face Of The World" is an acoustic strum through uncertainty, while toe-tapper "Robin Sings At Midnight" is a two-step through the ashes of a relationship. This is probably not the penultimate Gurf Morlix record, but it does whet the appetite.