Diamonds to Dust

Having built a solid career as a sideman’s sideman and an A-list roots-rock producer hasn’t made Austin’s GURF MORLIX any more market- able. Not that that’s an easy task. Morlix is a serious musician with matchless taste, but his name says it all: He’s got a silly side. You wouldn’t know this from his eleven years with Lucinda Williams—he produced her acclaimed self-titled 1988 album and its follow-up, Sweet Old World —but explore a bit deeper and there it is: his late-seventies onstage pranks with Blaze Foley, his off-color work with Ray Wylie Hubbard, and a curious trio of solo albums, which place gems like “Fallin’ Off the Face of the World” alongside nonsense like “Dan Blocker.” And yet, perhaps as a reflection of the times we live in, Morlix is no longer in a joking mood. From the opener of DIAMONDS TO DUST (Blue Corn), “Killin’ Time in Texas,” there’s a gruff conviction in his voice that’s been previously missing in action. Morlix is not much of a singer (his high notes on Dylan’s “With God on Our Side” will try your patience), but no matter. Stark, direct, and bone honest, this is a commanding and appealing set of songs.

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