The star attraction of this rockin' album is Corinne Curcio's talent triumvirate of great songwriting, great guitar work and great singing. Each track hits the ground running - and Corrine wastes no time ushering the listener thru her intricately composed, harmonically rich and adventurous art-pop creations.
Like the music of the 60's itself - the songs on NOW offer listeners an embarrassment of riches - an eclectic collection of pop tunes that dare to be more than just pop tunes. Everywhere there's the sense of exploration - in song structure; orchestration; vocal melody; cultural borrowings. I particularly like the Indian "Maharishi" raga/mantra touches (as in the title song "Now") - complete with flanged "sitar" guitar sounds - reminiscent of hippy-trippy-days gone by. Additionally - almost every song contains a little "classical" moment - where the music bids us to pause for reflection, briefly showcasing a pretty little cello or oboe fugue-like interlude... then BANG - back to rock n' roll. This very Beatlesque trait shows how much Corinne enjoys pushing the boundaries of pop.
In rockin' tracks like "Scandal", one can hear flourishes of classic bands like the original JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, LOVE, HEART, MOBY GRAPE and all manner of summer-of-love groups. In addition to electric rock, NOW features more than a few acoustic guitar-based songs. Corinne's folkier fare is both poignant & bouncy - calling to mind such delicious concoctions as the day-glo hits of HERMAN'S HERMITS, GARY LEWIS & THE PLAYBOYS, SONNY & CHER and mid-period BEATLES. In these charming ballads - I particularly enjoy the very Carnaby Street "Ahhh's" and "La-La's" vocal backup harmonies (as in the song "Lyrical Girl") - even Austin Powers would blush!
The guitar work on this cd is meticulously well-thought-out. NOW is an electric/acoustic lovefest of vintage guitar tones and REAL PLAYING. I love the genuine tube amp distortions so reminiscent of guitar gods like Jorma Kaukonen on VOLUNTEERS and Eric Clapton on FRESH CREAM. Corinne's style of guitar improv & soloing differs from the classical 60's long-jam-out approach in that she prefers shorter, crispier lines that interweave and dart out from all sides. She never over-indulges on her axe. Also a clever humorist, Corinne likes to sneak in subtle tributes here and there (e.g. a wisp of the famous guitar riff from DAY TRIPPER snuck into the song "Now").
Having hosted Corinne at numerous URBAN PRODUCTIONS BOLDLY PRESENTS Shows and URBAN PRODUCTIONS OPEN-WIDE open mics in the past, I've been able to observe her in performance. Beyond the fine musical ear & eye, she is also one of the most tactile guitarists I know. Live onstage, through song after song, she delivers her clear, clarion lead vocal straight out to the balcony, never once looking at her hands (which are flying all over the guitar neck) She's a rock-solid player and knows exactly what she's doing.
And speaking of singing - Corrine's inventive vocal melodies weave throughout her music in giant arching phrasings - sometimes twisting chromatically, sometimes strident & declamatory, sometimes legato & cool. One can hear the vocal stylings of the great ARTHUR LEE of LOVE, and also HEART's ANNIE WILSON. And I dare say - Corinne channels GRACE SLICK like no other - delivering NOW's lyrics with the same kind of mystical intensity, all-knowing authority and womanly pride.
A special gem on NOW is the solo instrumental acoustic guitar piece THAT'S HOW I FEEL. This virtuoso “divertissement” is as fine a piece, in every way, as similar genre classics like BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE by JIMMY PAGE; TO MY FRIEND by LESLIE WEST; and the guitar work in CSN's SUITE JUDY BLUE EYES. I can't believe some radio host hasn't snatched up this gorgeous bauble as theme music for a regular program.
The whole-lotta-love grooviness of Corinne's work on NOW owes a special thanks to her collaboration with co-producers, recording engineers & session players ZONNA (recently deceased) & KEVIN HAINING. Zonna & Kevin tapped right into Corinne's vibe. The fun these three kindred spirits had in making this album comes right off the cd in the form of a most listenable & amiable sonic contact high.
CORINNE CURCIO -
available at CDBABY.COM
visit - Corinne's homepage
Corinne is also a member of the rock-comedy-group ESTROGEN
Music & Arts Reviews by ROBERT URBAN published at:
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