Paul Curreri

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California Review

by Paula Carino

Charlottesville, VA singer/songwriter Paul Curreri produced and played almost all the instruments on his fifth studio album (aside from some guitar parts and vocals by his wife and frequent collaborator, Devon Sproule). And although the album glows with a cozy, bedroom-tape warmth, the casualness never crosses over to sloppiness; the arrangements are as thoughtful and layered as the introspective lyrics. Touching on various points along the blues-folk continuum, Curreri shines when he goes off the genre grid altogether, as on the bewitching "Stephen Crane," written by labelmate Brady Earnhart and featuring an insistent, haunting violin. The guitar run that graces "I Can Hear the Future Calling" bears faint traces of the lilt and rumble of West African folk. The woozy "Here Comes Another Morning" sounds like prime Giant Sand, and the sea-farin' waltz "Tight Pack Me Sugar" boasts a sweet, tipsy elephant-walk melody and appealingly offhanded vocal that make it a standout. All of Curreri's gifts converge on the lovely title track, where poetic lyrics (commending bliss followers and hinting that California is perhaps not just a place but a condition) are matched with dazzling guitars and a melody that grabs the listener immediately and holds on until well after the song is over.

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