Home Read Albums Of The Week: Gurf Morlix | The Tightening Of The Screws

Albums Of The Week: Gurf Morlix | The Tightening Of The Screws

The Texas troubadour digs deep and taps another rich vein of dark musical gold.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “MISSION STATEMENT – such as it is OK, here’s the deal: My new album is out. It’s called The Tightening Of The Screws. It has a bunch of really good songs, I think, and a pretty unique lookin’ album cover. In my opinion, anyways. Let me know what you think about that.

These are unique times, for sure. All the rules have been upended. All the fences are down. Or maybe they’re bigger than ever. I have no plans to tour until it’s safe, and there is no way of knowing when that’ll be. No way of knowing anything, at this point, except for the fact that all the income of touring musicians has been taken away. Whatever I make from the sales of these albums will likely be my only income for 2021. I’m not complaining. I’m extremely lucky to be able to do what I love, in the safety of my home. Many others are not so fortunate.

I am the chief strategist, here at Rootball Records. I’m the only strategist. I’m the label. I’m the distributor. I’m the manager. I’m the one that sweeps up. I’m in charge. Of all of it. This is a one man operation. All my albums are released completely independently. No publicist, except me. No radio programmer, except me. If you want to do an interview, email me. If you want to broadcast my music on your radio show, email me. If you wanna buy one… you know what to do. That’s my DNA on the copies I mail out to anyone who orders them. Those are my fingerprint smudges next to where I personalized the copy especially for you. Whatever it was you asked me to write. Well, pretty much. Within reason.

I do all this because I care. I care about the songs, which are my babies. I care so much about the sound. I obsess over the recording process more than you will ever know. Every note that was played has been considered extensively, from every possible angle. I try to find the exact placement for every part. From side to side, in the listener’s head. From top to bottom. From front to back. This is all extremely important to me.

Photo by Lynne Hawrelko.

I once spent an entire afternoon at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, staring at the fie or so paintings I thought were the ones that transcended time and space, thinking about how the mixes of my songs, and the sound of the albums I produce, could somehow represent the depth I found in those works of art. I’m not sure I have approached this level of art, but I’m trying as hard as I can. This is how much I think about all of this.

I put as much attention into the songs. I used to just get ’em to the point where they pretty much rhymed, and didn’t sound stupid, and then I called ’em done. I have learned a lot from all the amazing songwriters I have worked with, over the years. I think the most important thing I learned is to understand when a song is finished, or not. Ready to be played in public. Or not. I’ve learned that if the creative spark is right, it’s worth however much time it takes to hammer the song into whatever shape it takes. Some of these songs I have been working on for five years or more. They are not ready until they are as good as I can possibly make ’em.

I put as much thought into the album cover art, and I am fairly well proud of all my covers. A couple were done with a time restriction, and weren’t quite as good as they might have been, because of that. That will never happen again. The main lesson I have learned in all my years in the music business is that there are no deadlines. The powers that will be impose them upon you, but they never really mean anything. Years of experience have taught me that as hard as anyone pushes for a deadline, the date always falls away, and ultimately means nothing. Every time. I love the sound that deadlines make, as they whoosh past my ears.

Most of all, I really do care about you, the listener. Seriously. I don’t do this for me. Well, maybe a little, but mostly I do this for you. I’m nothing without you. Sounds trite, but it’s true. I have been out there, on the road, for the past eight or 10 years, trying to connect with people who like my music. It keeps getting better. That’s all I need to carry on.”

Photo by Ruud ‘Rudi’ Leeuw.
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