April 26th, 2002

Catie Curtis with Donna Dean – April 26,2002 – The Borderline – London

Catie Curtis

By Ellen Rawson

There have been times in the past when Catie Curtis has seemed nervous when she performs. Tonight was not one of those evenings. She was into her show right away; for a woman who had taken the train all the way from Glasgow to London that day, she displayed an incredible amount of energy and simply seemed happy to be there.

With long-time musical partner Jimmy Ryan accompanying her on left-handed mandolin (acoustic and electric) and guitar, she started off by playing music from her most recent CD, Your Shirt Looks Good on Me. Although the rhythm sounded a little off here and there on their second song, the album’s title track, Curtis smiled a lot. There wasn’t any hesitancy nor shyness. After that song, she took some time to talk to the audience. Pointing out the sheep on her t-shirt, she announced that it was sheep night at the Borderline, what with her shirt and her opening act,
Donna Dean, hailing from New Zealand, along with seeing a lot of sheep out of the train window during the five-hour ride to London. She quickly pointed out the mystery of the additional microphone on stage. It was reserved for Jen Todd, who had flown in from Seattle (taking a break from her usual work with Laura Love?s band) to ?hang out for a weekend in London.? At various times, Todd would climb onstage from the audience to sing with Curtis.

The songs from the new album are not necessarily the best examples of Curtis’ song-writing skills. However, something about her live arrangements and intimate relationship with the audience brought them to life, particularly on “Love Takes the Best of You”, a song about adoption. Curtis has a way of sort of occasionally speaking while she sings. She’s definitely singing, but it can sound as if she’s speaking the lines from time to time, simply for
emphasis. She also can add a certain lilt to her voice to emphasize important words, such as on
“Falling Silent in the Dark,” an older song requested from one woman to another. “I don’t remember their names,” she admitted with a laugh, but she played it anyway and mentioned how it had been requested via e-mail.

Her apparent honesty while talking to the audience is another aspect of her live show that helps bring her songs to life. She introduced a new song inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine.” With everything that has happened in the world during the past year, she’s had a hard time listening to that song “without thinking? um ? that he’s naïve,” she admitted with a grin. The audience laughed in response. “But he wasn’t (naïve) he was cynical. He must have written it as a prayer for himself. So here’s my prayer for myself,” she said before launching into lyrics about how her narrator cannot use her imagination anymore. “We take care of ourselves while the rest are weeping,” she confesses. “When I close my eyes and try to see all the people living in this world in peace, all I see is what’s in front of me.” It’s a sober reminder of what we do see in the media or on our streets on a daily basis, but it does offer hope.

She also had fun trying to involve the audience in more light-hearted elements of the show. On the very next song, “Kiss That Counted,” she took her time explaining the sing-along section. She finally advised everyone to follow Jimmy and Jen. “They’ll help you out,” she said with a laugh. Indeed they did. Todd counted with her fingers high in the air to let everyone know when to come in. It was a very up moment, particularly after the previous “heavy” number.

Curtis didn’t play a lot of older songs during the evening. This tour really was meant to promote the new album, but during the encore, she asked what she should play next. A number of people called out for “Magnolia Street.” Curtis nodded. “I heard that one, anything else?” She seemed determined to please her audience, sometimes admitting that she really didn’t remember some of her oldest songs that well. However, she indeed did tackle three older songs for the encore, “Magnolia Street,” “Walk Away,” and “Soulfully.” She did have problems with the words on “Walk Away.” “I’m gonna really try to nail it. I haven’t played it in a while,” she warned everyone ahead of time. They didn’t seem to mind. They were willing to feed her lines and laughed with her when it didn’t go quite right. “That’s supposed to rhyme,” she explained, laughing.

The audience laughed with her. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t always perfect. She played what they wanted to hear, and they appreciated her efforts. It was obvious that Curtis was just as happy with them as they were with her. “This has just been so fun! she exclaimed at the end of the show. If nothing else, it was nice to see Curtis enjoying just being herself while she further endeared herself to her fans.

Opening for Curtis was New Zealand native Donna Dean. At first, it was difficult to tell she was from New Zealand. Her first two songs were country western, and her voice had a decidedly strong twang to it. It wasn’t until she spoke that her native accent was obvious. However, she has a Nashville connection. She recorded an album there last year that will be released in the UK shortly. One song from the new CD, Pictures, heads more towards folk/singer-songwriter territory than country. It felt a little more accessible and just “realer” than her other numbers when she sang, “and nothing else comes close to the pictures in my head.” Her other numbers, however, were country or country rock, bringing across images of old-fashioned Texas honky tonks.

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September 29th, 1999

Catie Curtis


September 29, 1999 The Soiled Dove

by Alex Teitz

The Soiled Dove was packed Wednesday when Maine’s own Catie Curtis returned to Colorado. The last time Catie had played Colorado was last Fall opening for Joan Baez. This time she came with a band, and a new CD, Rykodisc’s A Crash Course in Roses.

The audience was filled with ninety-five percent women as Karen Capaldi shyly took to the stage. Karen, is a Colorado original acoustic artist. Dressed in black with blonde hair Karen dived into her set.

Karen has two CDs out already, and told the audience she is working on a third. Many of her songs were new including “Let Me Tell You a Story” a story song on abuse. “Float Into The Air” is a new love song with uplifting lyrics. “Crime of Breaking Hearts” was perhaps the most striking of the new songs. It focuses on wars, holy and emotional. Karen’s set was marked by a constant tuning of guitar  she used the time to develop a rapport with the audience. Look for Karen’s new CD when it comes out.

When Catie Curtis took to the stage the crowd was ecstatic. Curtis a traditional folk singer had a new confidence, and a slightly different feel for this tour. She began the set with “100 Miles.” She followed that with “Memphis” a “song autobiographical in every way but the facts.” The next song was “Wise to the Ways of the World” a song Curtis characterized about being about the over stimulation by the media.

Later, as the set continued, Curtis introduced the band. The band was Kris Delmhorst on violin. Delmhorst is an East Coast acoustic musician of her own right. Sean Staples was on mandolin, and Mark Peterson made up the rest of the band on bass. Both Curtis and the band were very relaxed with each other having a subtle, joking chemistry between them.

The set continued with Curtis interjecting anecdotes between songs on everything from a French review, her hometown, the naming of instruments and a particularly funny story involving Hurricane Floyd.  The set was filled with songs from new CD including “Roses”, “What’s the Matter”, and “I’ll Cover You.” Curtis also played songs from her other CD’s including “Troubled Mind” and “Radical.” Curtis was willing to field requests from the audience, and gave off as much energy as they put out.

The night ended with Curtis doing “Magnolia Street” as the last of a three song encore. Curtis has matured in her style, and is at home on the stage. Curtis is already on a high point in her career, and FEMMUSIC expects to see her there for a long time to come.

For more information on Karen Capaldi write

Luscious GirlPeach Productions

P.O. Box 7228

Boulder, Colorado 80306

For more information on Catie Curtis visit http://www.catiecurtis.com

For more information on Kris Delmhorst visit http://www.folkzone.com/kris-delmhorst

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