Live Music + Gig Reviews

Paul Curreri @ Betsey Trotwood, London

17 November 2009

Tall people are keen on Paul Curreri and his music. Evidence of their love was in abundance in a Farringdon cellar as he got busy with his heady blend of New Americana folk and country blues. With a supposed capacity of 60, the cellar proves to be a cosy place. But this didn’t stop Curreri’s mother being thoroughly impressed that he’d sold out three London dates – a mini-residency, no less, and part of a UK tour to mark the 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 previewed from it this evening sounded particularly good, including the breezy Here 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 – particularly during such rousing numbers as A Song On Robbing, from his self-produced 2007 album The Velvet Rut. Another track to feature from this was The Wasp, prior to which he alternately asked what the bass player’s name was, and then referred to him as his ‘good friend’.

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

During this period he produced an album for labelmates Don’t Move!, and also for his wife, Devon Sproule – an accomplished folk singer in her own right. She appeared on stage on a couple of 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 an encore (escape from the basement being quite impossible), including his musings on the British word ‘disorientated’ being more 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 eggplant in the States. In an amusing way, he was also pretty disparaging about being a native of the state of Virginia; we should be proud he was wearing shoes, let alone any achievements beyond that.

Curreri’s an engaging live performer who will hopefully attain wider recognition in the very near future. But until then, try to catch him playing 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