Having a womanizing, alcoholic father desert your family when you're 5 years old certainly would scar you for life. But perhaps this traumatic experience is at least part of the real, honest-to-goodness blues that informs the passionate blues rock of singer/songwriter/guitarist Laurie Morvan.
The Illinois-born, Long Beach-based Morvan discovered contemporary blues through Texas legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was by digging deeper into Vaughan's influences that she fell in love with such classic blues musicians as Robert Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Luther Allison and Etta James, among others. Over the years, Morvan has turned her curiosity, constant practicing and driving ambition into a self-sustaining career that has produced three albums, including her solid, brand-new Cures What Ails Ya.
Morvan cut her teeth playing numerous dive bars and clubs, putting up with sexist club owners and others who couldn't handle a smart female leading her own blues band. (A note to the ignorant: Morvan has a B.S. degree in electrical engineering and a master's in applied math, the latter from Cal State Long Beach.) In addition to her feeling-filled vocals and versatile guitar work—sometimes it's burning power chords, sometimes intricate single notes—what makes this inspiring woman so special is her undeniable self-confidence and perseverance.
Morvan and her band—featuring bassist Pat Morvan and vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Carolyn Kelley and Lisa Grubbs—play with equal parts reckless abandon and skilled precision, depending upon the tone and structure of each selection. So how true-to-life do you think empowering originals like "Kickin' Down Doors," "When I'm Queen" and "Keep on Believin'" are? Very.
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The Laurie Morvan Band performs as part of the Hyatt Regency Summer Concert Series at Pete's Sunset Grille, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 698-1234; www.huntingtonbeach.hyatt.com . Sat., 7 p.m. Free.