Heart strings: Duo's tunes signal romance
Sometimes in new relationships you need a clincher, something to seal the deal, so to speak, to make you stand out among the throngs of suitors (or suitorettes); something that says “pick me, pick me, pick me” without being quite so obvious. Almost no one, male or female, can stand the assault of unbridled creativity in their honor, so if you have been blessed by the gods with the gift of the muse (musically, or other), then by all means pull out this trump card.
For the rest of you (I’ve been known to write a heart-winning meta love song in my day), I’d suggest using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. And that, my friends (mostly the gentlemen in the audience), is where Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri’s show on August 30 comes in.
The show is setup like so: Each plays a separate set first, then they sing duets. It’s the duets that have a high clincher-factor. I was witness to the last time the pair played together in Charlottesville– at the Danny Schmidt going away party– and in spite of my overly jaded critical pose, I couldn’t help but smile as the two giggled, gazed into each other’s eyes, and wove close harmonies around their on-stage counterparts. Sounds a little sappy, sure (I’m a confirmed sucker for sap), but the end result was some great music from two people who plainly care a lot about each other.
The duo’s home-spun CD, Paul Curreri & Devon Sproule, is a collection of mostly covers, with a decidedly we’re-singing-about-each other feel. The first track, “Tomorrow Night,” written the songwriting team of Grosz/Coslow (both Elvis and Pat Boone performed this song) is, besides being a really great and eternally truthful song (it questions whether the words and deeds of one night of love will still ring true the next), probably the best track on the album.
Curreri shifts his guitar playing down a gear, lazily plucking instead of his usual high velocity finger-picking, while the pair sing close harmonies for the entire track (you can almost hear the smiles on their faces).
“Richland Woman Blues,” by J. Hurt, is a track on which Sproule takes over the lead vocals, with Curreri providing guitar backing and harmony for the choruses. Sproule’s latest album, Upstate Songs, is a step away from the pop-centric world of her earlier work, towards the more rootsy folk that local artists like Danny Schmidt, Brady Earnhart, and Curreri himself have been exhibiting for years.
Where the younger Devon might have seemed out of place singing (and writing) an exceedingly down-home song like track 7, “Plea For A Good Night’s Rest,” it feels natural here– as if she has grown into herself artistically.
Most people have some amount of romance in them (especially ladies)– the Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri show just might be the wedge you are looking for to edge your way into someone’s heart. He probably won’t stand a chance.
Devon Sproule & Paul Curreri with Lauren Hoffman at Gravity Lounge August 30. $10, 8pm.