The Curt Towne Band
Welcome Southern Rock Music fans, HappyJack is back with another article on one of the South’s favorite new Southern Rock bands.
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I was born here and I still live here in Jacksonville, Florida, home to many popular artists, particularly Southern rockers. Many bands and artists in this town are connected – like family – to each other, because of the music and the friendship this genre brings.
This is the hometown of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Curt Towne Band and many more great artists.
I was raised on the West Side of Jacksonville, where most of these bands were formed, and I ran into members of these bands all the time. When I was 16, I actually bagged groceries at Winn Dixie each week for Lacy Van Zant, father of Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant.
I remember running into Larry Junstrum (.38 Special ) every month at a local restaurant on Normandy Blvd. and running into Donnie Van Zant at a Grainger’s Lumber store and Johnny Van Zant at another grocery store in the same area. For a Southern rock fan, life is great in this town of Jacksonville. Seeing these guys around town, not hiding themselves, and acting like normal people was so cool.
And, there are plenty of others who were raised with Skynyrd connections, like local rocker Curt Towne.
Curt has enjoyed the friendship with members of Skynyrd since he was knee high, as he lived just a couple of doors from Allen Collins, and he was able to talk and become friends with him, along with other members and many other bands. Growing up with these Southern Rock Music Legends, the personal journey of Curt Towne is seen deeply in his new band, The Curt Towne Band, with every song they play.
And of course, this band has opened recently for the best in the industry – Montgomery Gentry – along with a benefit show with hometown heroes of Southern Rock, Molly Hatchet (Bobby Ingram, Tim Lindsey, Dave Hulbek). The Curt Towne Band has been busy recording new tracks in between concert dates – getting down the final touches on the new CD.
I had the chance to catch up with them again recently backstage on tour with Montgomery Gentry and I was surprised to see them announce a special intimate acoustic show to showcase the talents of each member of The Curt Towne Band.
As I stood backstage, I also ran into Bobby Ingram (Molly Hatchet) and his wife who were also there to support The Curt Towne Band and witness the history the band was making tonight in front of 6,000 fans who came from many miles away to see the band and hear the music that has been missing from real Southern Rock. A fantastic double bill show, The Curt Towne Band and Montgomery Gentry, which was a sell out.
The band starts off the show with a great upbeat song instantly bringing fans up out of their seats to dance to the music. The crowd was wonderful with so many in attendance tonight wearing a limited edition black tee-shirts. These black shirts were purchased at earlier shows and no longer in print; seeing all of those shirts showed all in attendance that this band has a following long before the major acts started calling them to open their shows.
We saw hundreds in attendance wearing the black shirts and then watched new fans grabbing everything they could from the merchandise table. The band offered CD’s, shirts, and other great items – while fans stood in line patiently waiting their turn to order, this band gave the headliner a run for the money on total tee shirt sales.
Meanwhile – the band itself is playing song after song from their debut EP, and also added in new unreleased material into the mix, instantly gratifying everyone in attendance. The music was outstanding, in full acoustic sound, with all of the songs that this band has recorded, along with a few new ones – a treat!
Lead Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist – James Aaron has such a good voice, like a young Bob Seger. He boasts a perfect range with a rough balance. Watching him, you see how passionate he feels about his work, belting out verses that hooks you and grab your attention. He has the ability to put it on the line with a powerhouse voice. The fans listened and when each song is over they all instantly raised there hands in appreciation. It feels so good to be witnessing the beginnings for this much sought after band tonight.
Lead Rhythm Guitars – Curt Towne, the man with all the experience, all the chords, all the hooks that make this band rock. I’ve met him a few times and he is one of the nicest guys, always receptive, always caring about your conversation with him. He instantly proves his roots with the first song, a dedication to the Southern Rock music genre as he follows in the footsteps of his industry elders. Ronnie Van Zant would be proud of his songwriting, and the fans have made it clear, they love every song he performs with his hard working band. The ability to play chords and change the feelings in each song is simply amazing to see and hear. This band’s music reminds me of the “Nuthin’ Fancy” era recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd – All classics, all heartfelt. The Curt Towne Band will be around for a long time.
Bass Guitars – Greg Wilson Thompson is as versatile as you can get. Greg plays heavy bass and has experienced playing and touring with many bands including a band called THE LESLIE HAWKINS BAND formed by one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s back-up singers. The solid foundation he plays today at this event makes the band stand out as a contender in the highest regard for a new Southern Rock music era.
The band closes with “Long Live My Country”, a must hear tribute song to the beliefs of this band: freedom, religion, gun rights and life.
This song means so much to many people already. It is their anthem, the type of song that any band would want to have as a closer. This song grabs everyone that hears it and brings them in closer. It builds with excitement on every verse and ends with a feeling of being blessed.
I was blessed myself to be part of it all. I can’t wait for the new album and another great tour from this band.
Thank you to The Curt Towne Band for standing out in this showcase concert for the fans tonight, and the industry reps in attendance.
I’ll be back again with another great story from the band soon, in the meantime look for their music on iTunes and other fine retailers.
HappyJack – the insider on what’s happening in music in Northeast Florida every month right here!
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