Artist: Curtis Wright
Album: Curtis Wright
Label: Self Released
Release Date: 04/22/2016
There are times when Curtis Wright gets lonely and needs a drinking companion. He’s got Jim – as in Beam – to keep him company in a rather somber “Listening to Whiskey and Talking to Walls.” Johnny Walker is there, too, as is Jack Daniels. On his own, in a cold, empty house, Wright meditates on lost love, hoping beyond hope that special someone will come back around. That’s the booze talking. Deep down, he knows it’s highly unlikely. The good news is, neither he nor his self-titled album of folksy country and bluegrass storytelling stay depressed for long.
That slightly grizzled voice of his – so warm and comforting – usually has a sunny disposition, even as Wright soulfully spins yarns of prison breaks, youthful indiscretions, troubled times and heartache. His amiable nature shines through wistfully melodic fare such as “Waiting on My Heart to Break” and “Stormy Weather,” and it rises above the glorious, freewheeling din of tight, masterful picking, strumming and sawing in high-spirited rambles “Going Through Carolina,” “’Til I’m Dead and Gone” and “Old Man from the Mountains.”
Rooted in old-timey Americana, Wright’s tuneful works are masterfully rendered with passion and grace in a hillbilly mélange of banjos, acoustic guitar, mandolins and fiddle, as well as strong vocal harmonies. Mournful and desperate, a sepia-toned “Tunnel Tunnel” longs to escape incarceration, but Wright is no mean outlaw. He gets religion in the hopeful gospel ballads “I Will Someday” and “Mama Prayed for Me,” while admitting there’s no harm in an older woman doing a little “barn drinking” in a gently swaying “Rainy Day Whiskey.” This is the good stuff, genuine through and through.
– Peter Lindblad