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FAME Review: Paul Curreri - California
Paul Curreri - California


Paul Curreri

Tin Angel Records - TAR 012

Available from iTunes.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The very talented Mr. Curreri looks a bit, on the back liner, like Jesse Winchester but, while bearing more than a few resemblances as a comrade in arms, dwells in a much rootsier place, a lot like The Band blended with the old San Fran Fillmore groups. In fact, anyone hailing from that era who doesn't feel the immediate vibe of the era obviously ingested way too much of the times' chemical wonders and can't remember where he or she has been. Curreri's married to Devon Sproule and produced her recent, and delightful, !Don't Hurry for Heaven! (here), which is a bird of an entirely different feather, so don't take the bus across town expecting the same thing. Ain't gonna happen.

Very little about this CD sits squarely in any pocket, Curreri being a bit of a rustic eccentric, evidenced by his choice of covering Mike Hurley's Wildegeeses, not to mention that highly unusual guitar technique, kindred to Kelly Joe Phelps' approach for its basing not in mechanics but in the perception of the player, mind over fingers as it were. At first, the choice of a slightly muddy verite recording may seem a trifle odd, but by the time the first song winds down, you realize that no other mode would've done, especially given that he's playing everything you're hearing (except for Devon's piano on the Hurley cut) and sounding like the entertainment for a mutant poker game in a Sergio Leone movie. Such rough-cut brilliance, you can see, needs sympathetic matrixing.

Thus, should you be one of those souls who fancies good ol' Hurley along with Robbie Robertson, Jesse, Kelly (who, by the way, adores Curreri), the woollier reaches of Leo Kottke's inner narrative, and those much-missed scions of Bill Graham's wonderful venue, California is the disc for you. Pay careful attention, though, as there's a hell of a lot more going on than at first presents itself to any casual listen, "Tight Pack Me, Sugar" being a great example. That back-of-the-bar atmosphere only indemnifies everything through a Wild Westy saloon, this time occupied by characters you're not entirely sure didn't pick up a strange dose of sun out there in the North 40.

Track List:

  • Now I Can Go On
  • Once Upon a Rooftop
  • Stephen Crane
  • Here Comes Another Morning
  • Tight Pack Me Sugar
  • California
  • Off the Street, Onto the Road
  • The Line
  • When What You Do Don't Do It Anymore
  • I Can Hear the Future Calling
  • Wildegeeses
  • I Can't Return
  • Down by the Water
All songs written by Paul Curreri except Wildegeeses (Michael Hurley)
and Stephen Crane (Brady Earnhart).

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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