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Gurf Morlix (from the album I Challenge the Beast available on Rootball Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Coming hot on the heels of his previous effort Caveman, released this past October, I Challenge the Beast finds Gurf Morlix on a streak that’s sees him offering new albums either every year, or every other year, since the start of his solo career in 2000. Nevertheless, his prodigious output isn’t limited to his own efforts. An in-demand producer, he’s also overseen efforts by Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves, Mary Gauthier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Robert Earl Keen, among many others. His work has been rewarded with induction into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame and the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as well as accreditation as 2009’s Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association.
It’s hardly a surprise then that Morlix would continue to mine his own obvious potential and given that fact I Challenge the Beast suggests he’s as driven and determined as ever. Fifteen albums on, he maintains an ever-assertive stance, one tempered by a good-natured yet unassuming persona. In this particular case, it veers from the solid strut of “Heart” and the darker designs of “The Beast” and “Coil of Barbed Wire,” to a jolly and jaunty take on “Miss Nellie’s Place” and the sweeter sentiments shared in “Beautiful Crazy World”.
Gurf Morlix’s pursuit of his own possibilities is clearly inspired by intrigue and imagination, which makes it difficult to discern where his creative impulses will lead him next. “Everything I see is on fire,” he declares on “World on Fire”, laying bare the obstacles and uncertainty that he sees a necessary need to overcome. Somehow he manages to persevere, making music that can be chilling, challenging and yet consistently captivating as well. It’s hardly surprising that two of the songs, “Make It Home” and “I Wanna Come Home”, are explicit examples of a need to find safe harbor in a world beset by anguish and uncertainty. Ultimately then, I Challenge the Beast comes across as a rugged and resounding work, and one that deserves to be carefully considered. Consider the challenge as having been met as well as mitigated. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Gurf Morlix from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Gurf Morlix website
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