Paul Curreri’s latest album follows a throat injury that forced him to stop performing for a couple years but didn’t stop him from producing numerous records, including Don’t Hurry for Heaven, by his wife, Devon Sproule. And all the while, he was assembling what would become California.
Curreri has always been a quirky songwriter, a trait that carries over to his guitar playing. He’s a very good fingerstylist and, except for the occasional piano tune, acoustic guitar forms the basis of his songs, with electric guitar added for texture. “Once Upon a Rooftop” is a perfect example, with its bluesy acoustic frame and an electric solo with a descending riff and a series of chords. “Stephen Crane” is a folky tune set up by acoustic that gives way to jazz-based electric solo with multiple double stops.
Curreri does a great job using chord changes to enhance the soft nature of his voice; chords and acoustic on “Off the Street, Onto the Road” show a fine harmonic sense and great feel for time. “Down By the Water” becomes a stomper through sheer willpower, with great changes and a tasty electric solo.
Curreri has soft, subtle vocal delivery, and his songwriting retains the quality of his past few records. He’s a rare gem.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.