James Curley
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James Curley

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Americana Acoustic




"WDCB - Folk Festival"

"James Curley's new release, "There Used To Be A Train," is right on track, with nine well-crafted originals and a mesmerizing cover of Warren Zevon's "Mutineer." Song after song delivers interesting lyrics, instrumentation, and arrangements, in a superb production by John Abbey of Kingsize Recording. Curley tackles topics ranging from the decline of society in general, to laser-sharp character sketches of lonely workers and a single mom raising four kids, as well as paying homage to late greats, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Goodman. "There Used To Be A Train" is sweetened with voices and instruments by many fine artists, including Don Stiernberg, Steve Dawson, Jenny Bienemann, Gerald Dowd, Dan Navarro, and members of Sons of the Never Wrong and 2-Bit Palomino." - Lilli Kuzma, host of "Folk Festival" on WDCB Public Radio (Glen Ellyn/Chicago)

— Lilli Kuzma, WDCB Radio - WDCB Radio -

"WFMT - The Midnight Special"

"CD of the Week" - January 25, 2014 - Rich Warren - WFMT


Still working on that hot first release.



James Curley began writing songs in the mid 1970s in his native Philadelphia, influenced mainly by 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.

Leaving Philadelphia, James played 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 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, as well as having been synced to film and cable television shows. 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 2nd CD - Manufactured Meaning - again working with Larry Clyman. 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 radio airplay.

2013 saw the release of There Used To Be a Train James 3rd CD. Produced and arranged by John Abbey and featuring some of Chicagos best Folk/Americana musicians as well as support from the groups Sons of The Never Wrong and 2-Bit Palomino, the record is enjoying excellent early reviews and radio airplay.

Band Members