Gurf Morlix Stares Into the Abyss

An Americana stalwart confronts loss and dread.

Gurf Morlix
Impossible Blue
Rootball

Though he’s hardly unknown, Austin’s Gurf Morlix enjoys far less acclaim than his talent merits. On his tenth (!) solo album, the rueful bard and subtle guitar virtuoso offers another haunting helping of his dusty Americana, tempering eloquent, heartrending observations on life’s trials with mordant humor and a heap of empathy to ease the pain. “Your breath smells like expensive wine/But your kisses taste a little like turpentine,” Morlix murmurs in the sleepy toe-tapper “Turpentine,” his weary-yet-unbowed voice exuding a sense of cosmic dread; he ponders “desperation and the damage done” on the gentle “Backbeat of the Dispossessed,” reflecting on the loss of an old friend. But “Impossible Blue” is the opposite of a downer—like the great blues artists, Gurf Morlix can look into the abyss without taking the plunge, affirming the resilience of the human spirit, however rocky things get at times.