Paul Curreri | Velvet Rut (2007)
Track Listing

1. Mantra
2. The Velvet Rut
3. A Song On Robbing

4. The Wasp

5. Keep Your Master's Voice in Your Mouth
6. Fat Killer at Dawn
7. Intermission for Beer
8. Loretta
9. Don't Drink
10. Where You Got Ain't What You're From
11. Why I Turned My Light Off

12. Freestyling Crost the Pond

The first reviews of the Velvet Rut are in . . . .

FOUR STARS -- Best Yet From Hirsute Virginian

Curreri undergoes something of a makeover on The Velvet Rut. Prior form has shown him to be an acoustic balladeer with a taste for the darker reaches of life, but here he's flitting all over the musical map. From scratchy blues ("Loretta," "Where You Got Ain't What You're From") to weird sonic fuzz to creepy-sweet folk (nine minute epic "Freestylin' Crost The Pond"), it's a riveting trip. With surreal requiems for dead wasps, mutant angelos in the bath tub and fat killers at dawn, the lyrics are suitably out there, too.  

-- Uncut

"Truly, this is a beautifully crafted record, a solid sonic eruption, psych-folk of earthly dimensions."

-- London Calling

"A dark and intimidating sonic assault on the mind... a lyrical master class. Paul is a true avant-garde Americana poet -- a deeper and darker hybrid of John Cooper Clarke and Beck -- and one heckuva guitarist."

-- Maverick

Whilst its predecessors were full of solid tunes with some clever lyrics, The Velvet Rut raises the bar considerably with a bunch of darker, brooding songs. Opener 'Mantra' sets the marker with a great sense of malevolence as the fuzzy vocals spit out a tale on the ege of sanity, the usual finger-picking style giving way to an equally 'on the edge' thrash of sound. Order is restored by the time 'A Song On Robbing' rolls into view..a sweeping guitar line buoys a joyous vocal ending with the killer line, "between waking up an lying down, that's a nasty gap." 

-- Rock 'n' Reel

An introduction to the record . . .

“The beer fall empty and I fill up with fire. I’m walking toward your mouth repeating my mantra.” Goddamn. The Velvet Rut is off and running; and the sheer volume, guitar drive, & tangible had-it-up-to-here contained in this first track sounds nothing short of intimidating.

Internationally acclaimed as a songwriter, guitarist, and spirited live performer (“Curreri brings a renewed eloquence to the medium,” – The New Yorker) he now adds producer to the credits. The Velvet Rut is a sonic eruption, and Curreri played every note on every instrument.

The record is certainly unruly – boots stamp, telecasters telecast, acoustics pick so quietly they border on aggressive, and pianos make noises weirder than they were ever supposed to. As a guitar player, Curreri is renowned (“Spontaneous and poetic” – The Independent-UK / “You half-expect tears to appear on the face of his instrument.” – Oxford Town / “Furrowing a sonic field few musicians would be admitted to.” – Americana-UK). Here, in the layering – or in the choices to not layer – his playing twists & extends itself, revealing further meaning in these dynamically badass narratives.

Lyrically, he goes. Climbing from the bath, an ugly angel’s natty wings splash water against the window, “flooding dead mosquitoes and worse things.” Of the dream-murdering sloth in “Fat Killer At Dawn,” Curreri venomously barks: “[you] shoulda thought at church… skipped some class… smoked up in the bathroom stall… kicked that asshole’s ass.” Even in the calm, there’s movement – from “A Song On Robbing:” “This afternoon is like the others. / Nothing’ll blow up or collapse. / Between waking up and lying down, / that’s a nasty gap.” Characters seem to jump between songs. Pearls of insight emerge and then dive back into the fold. Everything snarls. “It was an odd year,” he says. At times a veritable rotisserie of anger, jealousy, loneliness, and cursing regret, The Velvet Rut wouldn’t be the background music of choice for a dinner with mom.

Raised in Richmond, Virginia, Paul now makes his home in Charlottesville with songwriter / guitarist Devon Sproule (the two were married in May of 2005). Curreri grew up playing music but ended up enrolling at Rhode Island School of Design to pursue painting and film. “My movies were okay, I guess,” he said. By the time Paul graduated from RISD, he'd composed over 200 songs on guitar and piano. Turning down an editing job at MTV he set to work carving out a life as a musician.