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Curtis Harvey preview

| December 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Hideout, Chicago
Monday, December 7, 2009

harvey

Telling people that Curtis Harvey was in mid-’90s slowcore outfit Rex is useless. First, despite a decent track record, most people won’t know who you’re talking about. Second, Rex has little bearing on his solo debut.

Which, it merits mention, comes 10 years after Rex’s swan song. Having divorced the loud guitars and occasional howled vocal, Harvey’s Box Of Stones (Fatcat) is a disarmingly straightforward singer/songwriter collection with an occasional bluegrass flourish. He has scaled things so far back he even recorded in his basement (check the backing vocals on “Seen”), and the tracking method is about the only nod to former dissonance. Because the vocals are no longer just another instrument, they’re pushed to the fore on Stones, giving it an Eric Bachmann/Crooked Fingers feel, though occasionally the lyrics don’t pass muster. “Across The Sea” rather lazily calls out to people like “little sister” to come dancing (this from a New York-based friend of iconoclasts like Califone), while “Borrowed Time” fills in boxes on the drifter’s checklist. Typical though its accompaniment can be, the banjo overlay on the piano-voice nugget “On Top” sounds enticingly off kilter, and gives “Bag Of Seeds” a predictible though comforting rusticity.

Geoff Farina’s Glorytellers and Judson Claiborne open.

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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