Matthew Curry is one of those guitarists. By, “one of those,” we mean a self-taught prodigy who began playing at the age of 4. A young disciple of ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, at age 18 he signed with the Paradigm Talent Agency. Since then, he’s been a constant touring artist, supporting acts such as Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, Doobie Brothers and Blackberry Smoke. He also released two studio albums, If I Don’t Got You, in 2013 and, Electric Religion, in 2015.
Curry’s new EP offering, Shine On, hits the streets on September 16th. The fact that he’s only 21 years old doesn’t have much influence on this wonderful collection of 6 original songs. His skills are incredibly strong for a player of any age, and his rock-infused, electric blues draw inspiration from a myriad of influences.
It is his opinion that blues and rock n roll are the two genres within music that truly and deeply speak from, and to, the soul. “I think the main reason being the soulfulness of both styles of music,” Curry explained. “When you hear a great blues, or a great rock song, you can often get chills, or it can make the hair on your neck stand up.” These all original tracks bring the rock to the forefront, but all have that blues feel we all know and love. However, Curry also mixes in elements of southern rock, and even old school country into his original songs.
With the very first licks of the initial track, “Blink of an Eye,” we heard an almost Beatles type of opening, which shifted quickly into that urban “countryish” style reminiscent of the Black Crowes. Curry’s soaring guitar kicks in over the top and what we expected to be an explosive opener, mellowed out into heartfelt lyrics and notable vocal harmonies. It was the first of many pleasant surprises to come.
The second track, “Caroline,” comes out rocking. Its a cleverly written number touching on a familiar subject. C’mon, how many of us have fallen in young love with someone whose father didn’t approve, but we found a way around him?
Our favorite on this release is the title track, “Shine On.” This song combines Memphis soul with Nashville guitar and, although born in Illinois, Curry creates something that’s Tennessee perfect.
There is a rock solid collection of backing musicians on this self-produced gem, including Tim Brickner on bass, Francis Valentino on drums, and smoking hot keyboardist Mike Masefield on piano, keys, and Hammon B3. Recorded primarily at Eclipse Studios in Illinois, a couple of tracks were done at Nashville’s famous Bomb Shelter, and the production is polished and fluid.
Its true that Curry has been described as, “a wonderful guitar player,” by Steve Miller, and, a “guitar hero,” by Peter Frampton, but he’s also incredibly adept at not making his music all about the guitar. A unique voice and genuinely substantial rhythm section make the songs on this release truly appreciable to the masses. After several turns of Shine On, we’re confident in saying, “Watch out Bonamassa, there’s a new kid in town.”
Title: Shine On
Running Time: 26:20