BELLOWS FALLS -- Famed producer and sideman Gurf Morlix steps into the limelight to perform at the Windham Ballroom on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Tempting as it may be, don’t just judge Morlix by the company he keeps, even if it does provide a fine starting point: Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Warren Zevon, Ian McLagan, Patty Griffin, Robert Earl Keen, Michael Penn, Buddy Miller, Mary Gauthier, Tom Russell, Jim Lauderdale and Slaid Cleaves, to name a few. Instead, listen to "Gurf Morlix Finds The Present Tense," his sixth solo album, and understand why his blue-ribbon associations as a producer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist have led him to a similar level of excellence as a singer, songwriter and artist in his own right.
Prior to embarking on his own career, Morlix was likely best-known for his 11-year creative partnership with Lucinda Williams as her guitarist, band leader and backing vocalist as well as the producer of two of her classic, critically-acclaimed albums: her 1988 breakthrough, "Lucinda Williams," and 1992’s "Sweet Old World." His work with Williams led him to produce multiple recordings for Hubbard (four albums), Cleaves (four albums and an EP) and two albums each with Keen and Gauthier, as well as discs by Russell, McLagan, Butch Hancock, Hot Club of Cowtown, The Setters (Alejandro Escovedo, Michael Hall and Walter Salas-Humara) and others.
Starting out on bass and moving to guitar, Morlix was playing professionally by his mid-teens (his longtime friend Peter Case made his stage debut between sets by Morlix’s band). Mastering new sounds and new instruments became a lifelong pursuit when he heard the steel guitar on Bob Dylan’s "Lay Lady Lay" -- he got himself one and then joined a country band to learn how to play it. The band members turned him on to country icons like Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, who remain indelible influences. By the time Morlix finished high school and struck out to play music in such warmer climes as, first, Key West, and then in 1975, Austin, Texas, he had a rich musical vocabulary that included rock, country, blues, folk and R&B, and a growing yen to create music in a place where all of them met and intermingled.
In 1991 Morlix returned to Texas, settling into a house outside Austin where he installed his Rootball studio at the end of the 1990s. In addition to offering his production clients a comfortable place to make their records, having the home studio led Morlix to start making albums of his own.
Tickets are $16 in advance and $19 at the door and are available at Popolo at 36 The Square, www.popolomeanspeople.com or by calling Popolo at 802-460-7676.