Hometown boy to return home to debut second CD
Curry to make two Thanksgiving weekend performances
By Kelly Kruithoff
Leader-Courier (Elk Point, SD)
Published November 20, 2003

After four years, a college degree and experiences in Europe, Joe Curry will return home to Elk Point over the Thanksgiving weekend to make two appearances promoting his new CD of piano music, “In Focus.”

Curry, 22, will perform a free piano concert Friday, November 28, at 7pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church. He will also perform during the Holiday Open House Sunday, November 30, at Edgar’s. Both are venues he has played before, when attending high school at Elk Point-Jefferson and while attending college at the University of Minnesota.

The 14-song collection is the first CD for Curry since his debut CD, “Milestones,” was released just after his graduation from Elk Point-Jefferson High School in 1999. Curry graduated from the University of Minnesota this May with a marketing degree and is working for public relations agency Padilla Speer Beardsley in Minneapolis in their manufacturing and technology practice.

A lot of changes have occurred between the making of his first and second CDs. “In Focus” was recorded at Wild Sound Studio in Minneapolis, just five miles from his home. He was able to record on his favorite brand of piano, a Yamaha.

“Instead of recording with two microphones directly to an analog tape, we used five microphones to capture the sounds of the piano and digitally record it,” Curry said. “As the recording engineer explained to me, the reverberations of sound do not end at the piano strings, but the sound carries out from the piano into the space it occupies. Using five microphones, the engineer was able to more closely create the sound of a live performance by placing microphones near and away from the piano.”

Curry also said he felt more comfortable and at ease in the studio because of his previous experience. “I had more fun with it and really focused on immersing myself in the inspiration of each song before recording it,” he said.

Curry said he used his experiences over the past four years to help him musically “tell a story” with each of his songs, from horseback riding near his home, the elements of Mother Nature in his backyard and his travels through eight European countries.

“My tag line is ‘piano music that paints a picture,’” he said. “every song has a story, and I want people to be able to feel and envision the meanings of my music. I think my piano compositions are [now] more advanced, as far as voicing the melodic line and creating a familiar musical structure for each song.”

On one of his songs, “Three Shadows,” Curry not only plays, but sings. “I recorded my voice in layers of harmony for the chorus,” he said. “At first, singing with yourself is an odd experience, but it’s pretty neat how you can match the vocal quality.”

Curry also has a website, www.joecurry.com to help promote his music. His music has been played as far away as Australia, when a college student there played on of his compositions for a college entrance evaluation for the music program. A South Dakota student has also used one of his compositions as a recital piece.

“It’s amazing to me how my music has a global reach through the Internet,” he said, “and it’s fun to hear from people around the world who have listened to sound clips of my music or downloaded the sheet music.”

Curry also now has a fan club. His Internet site club is made up of people who purchased his first CD as well as those who “found” his music through the Internet. He said the club started as a way to update his recording efforts and performance schedule and grew from there.

His relatives and friends still remain among his biggest “fans.” His mother, Julie, helps him sell and distribute his music CDs and sheet music from her Elk Point home.

Although not yet an established recording star, Curry is managing to keep a busy performance schedule. He will provide music for an Arthritis Foundation fundraiser breakfast in December and will perform at a Minnesota school administrator’s conference in January. He plays piano and alto saxophone and sings at weddings and at several Minneapolis area churches.

Curry’s CD is now only available at locations between Sioux Falls and Sioux City, but he hopes to expand the market farther into South Dakota and is investigating ways to obtain national distribution so his music can gain a larger audience. His CDs and piano books are available at Pioneer Drug In Elk Point, Victorian West and Nook n’Cranny in Vermillion and at the Sioux City Art Center. The items will also be available at his upcoming concerts.

If Curry’s goals for his second CD are met, his third will be a compilation of favorite Christmas songs. He has no timetable as to when that might occur.