Folk singer/songwriter James F. Curley was influenced in becoming a musician by his father and two older brothers, all of whom played and sang. He worked in the Philadelphia area until 1975, then traveled around the U.S. before settling in Houston in 1979. He relocated to Austin in 1980, and later to Chicago. He largely performed cover material until 1990, when he turned to songwriting in earnest. In the winter of 2002-2003, he self-released his debut album, Tom's Cafe, on his own Sidewalking Crab label. It included "Flies," a song that was a Top Ten finalist in the 2002 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the children's category.
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