Live Music + Gig Reviews

Paul Curreri @ Betsey Trotwood, London

17 November 2009

Tall people are keen on Paul Curreri and his music. Evidenceof their love was in abundance in a Farringdon cellar as he got busy with his headyblend of New Americana folk and country blues.

With a supposed capacity of 60, the cellar proves to be a cosy place. Butthis didn’t stop Curreri’s mother being thoroughly impressed that he’d soldout three London dates – a mini-residency, no less, and part of a UK tour to markthe launch of his new album California.

Fans in his native USA will have to wait until spring for it, but they might like to know that the songs previewedfrom it this evening sounded particularly good, including the breezyHere Comes Another Morning, as well as the slightly mournful title track.

Despite the vertiginous crowd often restricting views of the band,the atmosphere Mr Curreri and chums created was great – particularlyduring such rousing numbers as A Song On Robbing, from hisself-produced 2007 album The Velvet Rut. Another track tofeature from this was The Wasp, prior to which he alternately asked whatthe bass player’s name was, and then referred to him as his ‘goodfriend’.

Lucy Anne Sale had kicked off the evening’s proceedings, playingsome of her songs whilst battling a sore throat, and proselytizing theability of beer to counteract it. Withnail would have been proud.Curreri has recently bounced back from a more serious affliction, havingsustained a vocal cord injury in 2008, which caused him to cancelthe majority of his remaining concerts for the year.

During this period he produced an album for label-mates Don’tMove!, and also for his wife, Devon Sproule – anaccomplished folk singer in her own right. She appeared on stage on a coupleof occasions to sing duets, including Beneath A Crozet Trestle Bridge,which is on an album of songs Curreri dedicated to her. Aww.

We were treated to some random observations whilst he tuned up for anencore (escape from the basement being quite impossible), including his musings on the British word ‘disorientated’ beingmore clumsy than the American bastardisation ‘disoriented’. He bemoaned ordering aubergine as part of his lunch – he was expecting some sort of cheese, having forgot that it’s otherwise known as eggplantin the States. In an amusing way, he was also pretty disparaging aboutbeing a native of the state of Virginia; we should be proudhe was wearing shoes, let alone any achievements beyond that.

Curreri’s an engaging live performer who will hopefully attain widerrecognition in the very near future. But until then, try to catch himplaying in a venue like this. He’s a treat. But if you’re vertically challenged, maybe bring something to stand on.

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More on Paul Curreri
Paul Curreri @ Betsey Trotwood, London
Paul Curreri – The Velvet Rut