Pop-Blues? Deal With It!
Here at SDAA Ty Curtis is a blues/soul/rock guitarist and singer-songwriter who has always appealed and pleased. A previous review and video clips can be found here in support of this, and the other albums I listen to all confirm the talent. This latest digital release is a fine contribution to his sustained output, a maturing perhaps in the vocal.
In my review of Water Under the Bridge I did refer to his ‘pop-blues’ sound and I recall a fan taking umbrage with the term on Curtis’ Facebook site where the review was posted, pleasingly. Always delighted for someone to respond, even if having the ‘ump, but I still think the ‘melodic’ element to his rockblues oeuvre is Curtis’ great strength. The opening three tracks on this latest are generic guitar rock [and pumped-up organ on second, title track Blame Me] and this is delivered with skill and punch. Good stuff, as ever.
To this listener, it is in the sweet rhythmic guitar sequences that Curtis stamps his authority. Fourth I Can Say is an upbeat soulful song that builds melodically around its funky rhythms, solo stabs enlivening. Next Heaven Save Me is a blues ballad that exudes its self-reflection with honest-sounding emotion – the organ swirls wrapping it in lamentation – and the guitar solos are poignant in their restraint. This is a longing, late-night narrative. Sixth Shake It Up continues the more melodic groove, some tight vocal harmonising in the chorus, and these three are a core for the sound I personally prefer – not to in any way negate the power of the rest. As with all good music, listening and response is as much about the mood in the hearing as that in the musician’s intention and creation: because the desire and engagement is there, from both merging parts.
There’s a reggae surge in seventh Urge and Temptation, and then with ninth Who Are You we are returned to another super-sweet ballad, vocal harmonies here with a West Coast softness. The mellowed guitar and organ, with Curtis’ vocal at its emotive best, combine to layer this with more of that honest-sounding feeling. Closer Never Get My Love has a simple but sweet-again descending chord sequence before the off-beat rhythm pulses above this, the pace quickened at the album’s end, suitably, with Carmelo Torres’ percussive riff adding extra quality.
This fine album can be downloaded here.