Curtis Eller's American Circus-Taking Up Serpents Again
"This song is about that lying son of a bitch president of ours" announced Curtis Eller at his February appearance at the Galaxy Hut in Arlington, VA, introducing his opening song and the title track to Taking Up Serpents Again. He finger-picked over a few chords on his banjo and shook his hips side to side in a lazy sort of way while looking down to the floor for a few minutes, then raised his head, approached the microphone: "It's about Abraham Lincoln."
Curtis Eller plays and writes a music that some might call traditional or folk. His romps and ballads could have been borne in the delta or a post-Civil War parlor. His characters recall musicians, celebrities, and politicians long gone, reaching back as far as the mid-nineteenth century. He reaches back and finds the American Gothic tradition.
However, his music is utterly modern, since it's all really just a set up, a hoax on the modern listener to think that Eller is just some bygone folkie singing the same old traditionals that seem so enervating compared to the electronic trends currently evading popular music today. You see, every song is a history lesson and a puzzle. Each song is a lamentation on and a celebration of the past, present, and the future. Eller takes the listener on a journey through time where it is impossible to tell when you are.
And he puts on one of the best one-man live shows I've seen in years. Here's a list of upcoming dates:
May 17-Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction-New York, NY
May 22-Cutting Room-New York, NY
May 31-Galapagos-Brooklyn, NY
June 28-Kalamazoo Valley Museum-Kalamazoo, MI
June 29-Lager House-Detroit, MI
July 1-Elbow Room-Ypsilanti, MI
July 7-Dr. Sketchy's Lucky Cat-Brooklyn, NY
Aug 30-Alberta St. Pub-Portland, OR
August 31-Can Can Club-Seattle, OR
September 1-Green Frog Tavern-Bellingham, WA