$8 IN ADVANCE/$8 AT THE DOOR
9:30PM DOORS/10PM SHOWTIME
Curtiss A. Onstage, he commands your attention whether playing his own music, or his annual Hank Williams tribute. He not only has an encyclopedic knowledge of those aforementioned stars, but he knows music and pop-culture trivia and can talk entertainingly for hours, frequently delivering a priceless zinger. -Jon Bream
"Curtiss A is one of those artists who inspired me to try new things" -Steve Earle
Yes, Hank died at age 29, in 1953, in the backseat of his Cadillac but left an incredible catalog of songs as Curt and his band of cowpokes demonstrated.
The dean of scream gave some of his sidemen a chance to sing lead but, while Frankie Lee got into the quiet darkness of “Ramblin’ Man,” none of the singers was as assertive as Curt. Not that Hank was overly forceful. But Curt understood the dynamics, when to go nasally, hiccupy or yodeling-like. A few times, he admittedly shifted into George Jones’ drawn-out, drunken phrasing and, as promised when he gets a little drunk, he slipped into a bit of Elvis Presley style, notably on “Jambalaya.”
Some guests provided some of the high points: Singer/acoustic guitarist Jim Boquist on a swell “Lost Highway” with five other guitarists to help him navigate, and the Cactus Blossoms (a duo of brothers) providing exquisite high harmonies on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Curt’s most distinguished vocal turns came on the playful “Mind Your Own Business,” the very dramatic “Cold Cold Heart” with its elongated phrasing, and the gospelly “Angel of Death.”
As always, Curt filled the night with his eccentric humor, which covered music, politics and aliens. He said the boys couldn’t decide on a name for the seven-member backup band but suggestions included the Hirams (Hiram is Hank’s given name), the High Yellers, the Long Gone Daddies and the Cold Cold Hearts.
At least, Curt had them all sporting cowboy hats (save the drummer) and Western shirts or jackets. The frontman wore a different Western getup for each set but had the same Xeroxed photo of Hank glued to his acoustic guitar all night and a flask wrapped in a bandana on his microphone stand. “It’s a prop. It’s empty,” he said as he took a swig.