Highly regarded producer Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen) steps out with his second record on Catamount, and as might be expected, it's a diverse, musically ambitious affair.

Highly regarded producer Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen) steps out with his second record on Catamount, and as might be expected, it's a diverse, musically ambitious affair. Morlix's searing slide guitar work punctuates such wounded anthems as "Torn in Two" and "Driftin' Apart," and uptempos like the sweaty, effects-laden title cut and the rousing road trip "I Ain't Goin' That Way" rock righteously. Conversely, "My Lesson," with its drunken banjo and hangdog lyrics, comes off like 4 a.m. introspection, and "There Goes the Bone" is just plain—and pleasantly—weird. Morlix is a fine, if quirky, songwriter, capable of Petty-esque bite on "Center of the Universe" and broad foreboding on "I'm Hungry and I'm Cold." No vocal gymnast, Morlix nevertheless is an effective singer and the perfect vehicle for his left-of-center compositions. A solid collection, Fishin' in the Muddy is without a doubt one of the strongest albums ever released by someone named "Gurf."—RW