A little country, a little rock ’n’ roll and a lot of soul.
Lisa Lynn Morgan & the Country Gents, next at the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, are aptly named. The Gents are respected and well-known musicians in the Coachella Valley music scene. Lisa is acknowledged as a gentle and determined force in bringing quality music to the desert, and as a mentor who helps upcoming local musicians find their voices and venues in which to perform.
She is a multi-faceted professional who wears many hats — composer, performer, concert impresario, promoter, club booking manager, marketing director, emcee and community volunteer.
Lisa and the Country Gents are repeat winners of the CV Music Award for Best Country Artist/Band. She often is nominated in multiple categories, including Best Promoter.
Morgan is known for her civility and community activism. In Morgan’s case, civility is a deeply ingrained life lesson embodying kindness and respect for others. As a young mother, making heady inroads as a singer in the Las Vegas casino scene, she realized Vegas was incompatible with raising a family and her personal values. Her email tag “diva left Vegas” sums up the decision and showcases her self-deprecating sense of humor.
Her coming to terms with alcohol, and becoming clean and sober in 2011 increased her desire to help others and be a positive influence within her community. “Alcohol had pretty much destroyed my life, and I had to start over,” she recalled. “You do what you can do when the opportunities arise. I respond when my heart’s engaged. I do all I can to help others.”
For Morgan, that includes working with the desert’s homeless, assisting at a recovery home for women, and being part of an emergency disaster team for the American Red Cross.
In her music and in her life, Morgan believes authenticity and honesty are the qualities that reach and engage others. In performance with the Gents, Morgan covers the hits of others and tells her personal story through her own compositions. She can find the grit in a Janis Joplin hit and savor the sweetness in a Patsy Cline song. “We play our music with the full level of our hearts,” she said.
Her musical influences are some of the great female artists. In addition to Joplin and Cline, she credits Melissa Etheridge, Tammy Wynette, Maria McKee (of Lone Justice), Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris.
Her Gents include Larry Gutierrez on lead guitar and vocals, Tom Clift on bass and vocals, James St. James on drums, and Bobby Furgo on keys and fiddle. Furgo toured for years with Leonard Cohen and was profoundly influenced by Cohen’s message in his songs. “His biggest concern was how we all needed to learn how to love one another,” said Furgo. “Learning to be kind was his core message. It touched everyone.”
So, open your hearts, dust off your country boots and show up to hear Lisa and the Gents at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at the ISCS site behind the Idyllwild Brew Pub on the lower level. Erik Lingren and Friends kick off the evening at 6:15 p.m.
There is no charge for admission. Donations and sponsorships are always welcome.