Matthew Curry is in a groove. Oh he was in a groove three years ago opening for legendary names including The Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller, and Peter Frampton. It's just that that sort of exposure isn't supposed to happen right out of high school.
"It almost happened a bit backwards," said Curry, referring to his career path. "I think most people start with the club circuit and build and build and then hope to be on some of the tours we had the honor to be on."
Curry laughed when asked if he wished he would have started touring more conventionally, saying he really enjoyed playing arena's and other larger venues with those classic rock icons and could easily get used to playing those venues on a regular basis. But it frustrated him that his management didn't take advantage of that exposure by booking him later in a smaller venue in the same town.
"I think there was a golden opportunity there," said Curry. "At the time the folks I was working with weren't very aware of what was happening in the industry, and of course I wasn't as aware fresh out of high school. So I think it's good we're finally hitting the club circuit and returning to the markets. We're doing the groundwork that really never got laid."
In a few weeks, Curry will drop in on the fabled Mercury Lounge in New York City. He said he's excited to play a room that should draw a younger audience than currently see the young blues-rocker. In the last few years, he's played other legendary clubs, including Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, and the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
"About the time we were headed to L.A. to play that show, the Eagles documentary came out," recalled Curry. "They talked about how much the Troubadour was a big part of the scene in the 70s with Joni Mitchell and James Taylor and all those greats coming through there. So getting to play that club was pretty cool ... just thinking Elton John's first American performance was on that stage."
And despite playing cool rooms and arena's, smaller clubs still strike his fancy. Smith's Old Bar in Atlanta, Georgia, is a recent fond memory.
"It's kind of a dingy rock and roll room where you can smell stale beer everywhere and the floors are sticky," said a smiling Curry. "But it's a great sounding room with a great stage. People come to that club because they're interested in hearing new original music. Places like that speak to me, because when you get a crowd interested in hearing original music and new stuff ... that's always a plus."
Curry fans have been waiting for a new batch of songs for awhile, and they may be getting their wish fulfilled in the near future.
"I've got about an album and a half worth of new material right now, and it's all finished," said Curry. "I just want to get my ducks in a row and release it the right way. There are songs in this batch I feel strongly about. I want to figure out the perfect way to release it so it really gets traction this time and helps us take the next stop."
Curry said he will be playing some of those new songs when he headlines the Lexington (Illinois) Street Festival on July 8. The Steepwater Band joins Curry at Kemp's Upper Tap in Lexington. Doors open at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m.
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