Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and bandleader Laurie Morvan is so much more than a touring musician. Morvan is also a licensed pilot who worked in the aerospace industry in Southern California for a number of years before launching her blues career. She majored in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois and also played on that school's volleyball team, earning herself a scholarship for her last two years in college. Not unlike the ladies in Saffire -- the Uppity Blues Women, Morvan gave up the security of a nine-to-five day job for a much crazier, much less stable life on the road as a touring musician. Her first band played Top 40 and covers, but found plenty of work at casinos in Nevada and hotels and clubs in California.
Like hundreds of others by now, Morvan had a revelatory moment and a life-changing experience when she first heard Texas blues master Stevie Ray Vaughan. She was completely engrossed by Vaughan's powerful, expressive playing and began getting a blues education via her passion for his music. She began creating her own brand of blues-rock and writing her own songs, and financed her first outings in recording studios by earning her master's degree in applied mathematics and teaching college math classes.
In 1997 she released her first album of originals, Out of the Woods, with her band Backroad Shack. By 2004 she had changed the group name to the Laurie Morvan Band, and the release of second and third albums under that name got her additional media attention via some magazine feature stories and airplay on the syndicated radio show House of Blues Radio Hour. In 2008 the band advanced to the finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, and made connections to tour in the Midwest. She then worked with producer Steve Savage (Elvin Bishop, Robert Cray) on Fire It Up!, which was issued in 2009. Fire It Up! neatly showcases a dozen original tunes by Morvan that avoid the tired old themes and clichés in blues. In the process, she and her band -- which began to tour nationally in 2009 and 2010 -- are taking the blues in much-needed new and vital directions, so the form can continue to evolve. ~ Richard J. Skelly