James Curley began writing songs in the mid 70s in his native Philadelphia, influenced mainly by his trips to the Philadelphia Folk Festival and to local clubs like The Main Point, Grendel's Lair and others. He appeared as a solo songwriter back then, opening locally for other artists of the day, including Artie Traum and Lou London.
He departed Philadelphia, and played around the country in Denver, Boulder, Eugene and other areas and eventually wound up in Houston, where he was heavily influenced by the Texas songwriter scene there at the time. Moving to Austin in 1979, he immersed himself deeper in the local songwriting scene and performed in some small venues there until moving to Chicago several years later.
Taking a hiatus from music from 1987 until 1997 to raise a family and start a small business, James took up songwriting with earnest again, and released his first CD - Tom's Cafe - in 2002, Several tracks continue to get modest airplay on indie, folk and college radio stations. The CD was produced by guitarist Larry Clyman (Big Shoulders, The Otters, Lonnie Brooks Band) and featured performances from some of James musical friends like Nancy Walker and Sue Demel (Sons of the Never Wrong), Jay Sebastian (Twang Bang) and others.
In 2007, James released his second CD - Manufactured Meaning - again working with Larry Clyman. At this time, Larry had moved to upstate New York, and James collaborated there with local musicians like Tony Markellis (David Bromberg Band) and Rick Rourke (Lost Wages) to produce the record. Several songs from the record, especially Lay Down Big Easy - a lament for the post-Katrina reality of New Orleans - continue to receive limited radio airplay.
James is know for his spirited live shows, both with and without a band. He plays frequently in selected venues in Chicago including SPACE, where he recently opened for Ellis Paul, Patty Larkin, and The Sons Of The Never Wrong (3 separate shows).
When appearing as a duo/trio. James and his bandmate's acoustic sets for more intimate listening rooms may feature piano, octave mandolin, guitar, accordion, dobro, bass and diverse percussion instruments.
When appearing live with his full band, Radio Fade, James performs rhythmic, rootsy Americana-tinged Folk-Rock in the tradition of The Band, Little Feat, Jackson Browne, John Hiatt, Wilco, Grateful Dead, etc., channeling these artists while presenting his all-original material. The sound is gutsy and authentic, featuring acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitars and a veteran rhythm section to accompany James's literate songs.
What's been said about James?
"...some of the best literate and articulate lyrics that have crossed our desk in some time.....highly recommended" - Acoustic Rainbow - Roots Music Airplay Sampler for Radio.
"James's writing truly upholds everything good, right and true about American Roots music. Like Kristofferson, Prine, Goodman and Zevon, James Curley is a visionary way ahead of today's mainstream songwriters." - Timothy Edward Jones, journalist and author of 'Country Conversations' www.TEJBooks.com
James Curley & Radio Fade
James Curley - Guitars, Vocals
George Callobre, Bass
Dave Heim, Percussion
Joel Pace, Keyboards, Accordion, Guitar, Vocals
Ben Lansing, Slide and Electric Guitars, Octave Mandolin
2007 - Manufactured Meaning
2003- Tom's Cafe
On An Ordinary Day
TV or Not TV
Lay Down Big Easy
Ebb and Flow
Never Been To Memphis
Our Lady of Rogers Park
The Time I Broke Your Heart
2sets - 40 min each - 70% originals/30% covers in various tempos
TV or Not TV
Free Agent Deities
Because of You
I Jumped Bail
Moonlight, Cold Wind
Time I Broke Your Heart
Rest Your Weary Bones
There's A Cowboy on The Subway
Grace Under Pressure
Our Lady of Rogers Park
Lay Down, Big Easy
700 Parking Tickets
Deep In My Bones
Seven Bridges Road - Steve Young
I Know you Rider - Dead/Allman Bros.
The Mighty Quinn - Bob Dylan
Rocket Launcher - Bruce Cockburn
Dixie Chicken - Little Feat
Willin' - Little Feat
I Feel Fine - Beatles
New Speedway Boogie - Grateful Dead
Brown Eyed Women - Grateful Dead
Hey Good Lookin - Hank Williams
Angel From Montgomery - John Prine
Memphis In The Meantime - John Hiatt
Ophelia - The Band
Rad Gumbo - Little Feat
Redneck Friend - Jackson Browne
There are no upcoming dates at this time.