Paul Curreri – The Spirit of the Staircase

The Spirit of the Staircase

I was a big fan of Curreri’s Songs for Devon Sproule. That record, produced by guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps, was a solo acoustic country-blues effort that took the form places it hadn’t yet gone, or at least not often.

On his new record, Curreri takes a band route. Things are quiet, and in some respects represent a time gone by. Banjos fill the air with the guitars, Aaron Evans adds atmospheric electric guitar, and the brisk-but-subtle snap of a snare drum highlights most of these. Paul’s guitar playing is very strong. “Drag Some Revelating” has a nice acoustic arrangement that almost has a ragtime feel. “Memory Makes All This” has gorgeous changes set to an almost march beat. “The Party at the House” has a lovely lyric with fine acoustic. For the most part, Paul’s guitar playing takes a back seat to well-written songs, but it’s up front on the instrumental “March Kitchen and What Was Said.” The song is full of wonderful chords and beautifully dissonant single-string bends. He does go back to the solo vocal and guitar only a couple of times, including on “You Will Look at Me.” It’s a perfect showcase for his playing.

This is a fine and logical followup to the last record. It gives him a chance to spread out with his lyrics and keep the music interesting, but different. For folks interested only in the hot licks, this one might disappoint. But a hard listen reveals lots of layers underneath. Paul’s a unique talent who deserves more attention.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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