by Jane Roser
“We have a huge family reunion here in Florida every summer,” Galen Curry says, “we all come from a close, extended family and we’d be singing around the campfire with the other cousins, brothers and sisters.”
Hailing from the small coastal town of Port St. Joe in the Florida panhandle, The Currys (brothers Jimmy and Tommy with cousin Galen) have come a long way from playing family shows and bar gigs for kicks. On the road for a good portion of the year, The Currys have been making fans across the U.S. for their melodic, rootsy Americana/folk-rock sound and intimate, soulful live shows.
“We started informally playing at bars, mostly just for fun,” says Curry, “then we started writing songs together. I was playing with some bands in Virginia and released a few solo records at the time, but we decided our voices blended well together. We have all these songs and this is really fun-let’s make a real band out of it.”
Taking their last name and pluralizing it, The Currys moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to finish writing their debut full-length album Follow, which was released April 29th to fantastic reviews.
‘We were writing songs for this album years ago, but the recording process was over the course of one month,” recalls Curry, “we worked with a producer [Chris Keup] and an engineer [Stewart Meyers] and it was great to have another creative ear in the room, someone you trust because once you’ve written a song, you have certain ideas of the direction you’d like to take it in, so it’s nice to get an outside opinion.”
The album was recorded at White Star Sound in the tiny, sleepy town on Louisa, Virginia following a successful Kickstarter campaign that went over the $12k goal to reach an astounding $20k in a short period of time. The extra funds allowed the band to hire not only a producer and engineer, but to bring in other talented musicians, including the incredible Jeremy Garrett (The Infamous Stringdusters) who plays fiddle on the boot stomping final tune “Nothing Good.”
Speaking about the studio, Curry says, “you wouldn’t expect anything like that to be in Louisa. It’s in the middle of nowhere on a farm and the studio is in Chris Keup’s barn. It’s really cool and decked out with all this gear; there’s a living space on the top floor, a ping pong table and a kitchen, it was great, like a little retreat.”
Three songs on Follow were also included on their 2011 acoustic EP. The Currys had other songs they were considering for the album, but felt these tunes “Water From The Well”, “Hollow Bones” and “Catharsis” deserved a second chance. “We knew the distribution for this record would be bigger than the EP,” says Curry, “and we wanted to hear well produced versions of them with a full band arrangement.”
Another ballad I loved from Follow is the rather sad “How A Man’s Supposed To Die”, which at one and a half minute long, packs a wallop of emotion: “I’ll be drunk driving, wind blowin’ through my hair. When that savior comes to take me, Lord, I will not have a care; as his hands uncover my eyes. Ain’t that how a man’s supposed to die?”
Jimmy Curry wrote this song and originally didn’t want to include it on the album, but the others talked him into it. “We wanted at least one tune that was acoustic guitar and a voice because that’s how it all started,” says Curry. “We wanted an old-time radio sound to it, so we got an old gramophone horn, taped a microphone to it and he recorded his guitar and vocals to this big ol’ horn and it came out with this cool old-timey effect.”
The Currys tend to write individually, then bring a song to the others and shape it from there. “We had this catalog of songs we’d all written,” Curry explains, “and that’s the pool we drew from for this record. We’ll see how that changes for the next one.”
The band played several pre-release shows throughout the winter and spring to allow fans to have the album in their hands at a show. “Our publicist wanted us to wait and officially release it, but we really wanted to give it to people, so we tagged all of these shows as pre-release concerts and if you attended, you could buy copies of the record before anyone else was able to get it, so it gave people an extra incentive to come to a show.”
In the midst of booking all of these pre-release shows, however, they realized they hadn’t scheduled a show on the release date (April 29th). “We knew we had to do something,” says Curry, “so we decided to do an online release show. We’d heard about Stageit and decided to go that route. It was kind of a throwback to audiences our age because everyone used to IM each other and there’s a chat room that the audience can use during the show and they could throw out song requests, so it was very cool and interactive.”
Recently wrapping up a tour of the East Coast, The Currys have returned to Florida for the month of July for the Curry family reunion and several home-based gigs, including the Annual Sopchoppy 4th of July Celebration. “We like to play here in July,” says Curry. “We have a lot of friends and fans around the panhandle, so we historically play here in July and then we’ll be announcing more shows for August and beyond.”
Just last week, The Currys were announced as one of the many bands to perform this year at the Liberty Music Festival on South Street in August. So be sure to catch them in our city as they continue to introduce their homegrown, eclectic music to new audiences, gaining friends and fans along the way.