City Pages A-List Picks (Minneapolis, MN)

Curtis and Loretta are in many ways the quintessential folk duo: finely honed vocal harmonies of multidimensional intrigue, abundant talent on an array of stringed instruments, deep traditional roots, great originals, and equally strong strains of gravity and playful irreverence. It's been about a year since their last album, Just My Heart for You, but this gig is still a milestone, as it marks 30 years of musical partnership and 20 of marriage. Expect Irish drinking songs, tunes about bugs and lutefisk, a little Stephen Foster, a Yiddish folk tune or two, and an array of Loretta's remarkable originals. The latter are often certifiable tearjerkers, tackling, for instance, the ravages of Alzheimer's and the story of a concentration camp heroine. Loretta pulls it off by sidestepping melodrama in favor of eloquent writing and clear-eyed journalistic detail. It's both musically riveting and spiritually invigorating. David Hanners opens. $12/$15 at the door. 8:00 p.m. —Rick Mason

SAT MAR 24

Cedar Cultural Center

416 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis; 612.338.2674

 

Sing Out!

Review of "Our Heritage in Song"

The duo sings beautifully.....The singing is robust and the accompaniment of mandocello and Celtic harp very lovely....Curtis and Loretta have produced a fascinating recording collecting music that is of particular interest to anyone with a love for authentic American folk music.

City Pages (Minneapolis, MN)

Curtis & Loretta (CD Release)

As veteran treasures of the Twin Cities folk scene, Curtis & Loretta don't really have a reputation for covering the hits—until now, though the popular tunes that receive their customary charming and spirited attention on their new album go all the way back to '58. That would be 1858, the year Minnesota became a state. In fact, the songs on Our Heritage in Song would have been widely sung around the new state that year and were brought together by Curtis & Loretta as part of a Minnesota sesquicentennial project. There are sea chanteys; a children's ditty to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"; songs related to voyageurs, farmers, loggers, homesteaders; some dealing with contemporary issues like the looming Civil War and the evils of slavery; several referenced by Laura Ingalls Wilder; one recounting the exploits of outlaw Jesse James; and Abe Lincoln's campaign song. It's a sweeping tapestry of life and times 150 years ago, with topical threads that remain relevant today, specifically those about hard times and the poignant "When This Cruel War Is Over." As expected, Curtis & Loretta nail every one: His rich tenor entwines with her sparkling soprano for thrilling harmonies, while they adeptly accompany themselves on vintage stringed instruments that would have been familiar to nascent Minnesotans. To further set the mood, Curtis & Loretta will dress in 1850s attire when they introduce this truly unique project at the Cedar.

The Cedar

Minneapolis, MN

Date/Time:Sun., January 24, 2010  7:00pm

 

Cullman Sense (Cullman, Alabama)

Curtis & Loretta in Concert at Berkeley Bob’s

Husband and Wife Team Impress With Unusual Instruments and Harmony 

 By: Paul King

“He used to bark,” Loretta says, referring to her husband’s finale of an excellent song.

Whether you’re on your front porch or in the middle of a grand hall, the classical pitch of Loretta’s large harp and the lovely acoustic accompaniment of Curtis’ elegantly carved, steel accented guitar will create a magnificent sound that will make your heart melt.

In the late spring of 1977, both living in Santa Cruz, a fellow sees a lovely lady walking along the beach at sunset with her long hair blowing in the wind swaying along with the six string; his heart throbbed and he thought, “Nice guitar!” So the story goes as told by Curtis. Although, Loretta comically begs to differ.

 Her story? “This guy came along and said ‘Hey! I play guitar, too!’”

“Oh, well, that’s nice…” replies Loretta.

She adds, “Because, ya never know with these people on the beach. Whether you can trust ‘em or not.”

But, they hit it off, seemingly without missing a beat. Curtis rushed home, brought back a mandolin, and they sat there on a piece of driftwood log and played “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen.

That same Friday night, they played a Variety show, which Loretta was a part of at a bar in Santa Cruz. They realized they had great chemistry singing together. So, for the next 10 years they played their hearts out together and the chase of Loretta by Curtis began.

“I practically wore out the knees of all my pants and the patches wouldn’t even stay, but we kept playing together and had so much fun I wouldn’t dare ruin it,” said Curtis. “One day I just came out with it, in 10 degree weather, snowing outside. I said to her, ‘Let’s just go get married in Mexico.’”

She agreed and so they did. The past 37 years have been what one could call magical.

Loretta from Minnesota and Curtis from Texas found that combined, they played a grand assortment of folk instruments such as the clawhammer banjo, ukulele, steel guitar, mandolin, cello, mandocello, harmonica, and with the largest of the stringed instruments, Loretta’s Celtic harp. This jangled mess of strings is well kept by the duo, to say the least. Highly influenced by Irish and deep Celtic roots, they’ve come to know life and music as one and the same.

“Their music is inspiring and authentic, and their songwriting combines a reporter’s eye for detail with a poet’s sense of lyricism. While they can sing about something as timely as a headline, there is a timelessness to the things they sing about. Their individual voices may be distinct and strong, but when those voices intertwine, they resonate with love, truth and meaning,” is the perfect description for this serenading duo as depicted on the back cover of their album. 

Traveling up and down the east coast and over to the Midwest, they’ve somehow found their merry way to our cozy town of Cullman, Alabama, and if I say so myself, they’ve found yet another home at Berkley Bob’s Coffee Shop. 

I arrived before the set to be played and spoke with Loretta. She was such a calm and collected individual that I knew right away the music would be heartwarming. With such infiltrating magnitude on stage, the duet will steal you away from whatever may be on your mind.

Captivating and classically hilarious, the humor to their stories and little tales will have you laughing to keep from shedding a tear. From coast to coast they’ve shared their love of music and with little more than simple company, they make one feel more welcome in a hometown than ever before. It’s a wonderful thing when you find something reminiscent of what you’ve known all your life and yet has been forgotten, only to be revamped and reborn.

The sound of the Irish hill and the waves of Mobile Bay crashing against cotton and wool transport ships are only a part of what you’ll find in a grand presentation of Curtis and Loretta’s musical set. Props to Berkeley Bob for bringing Curtis & Loretta’s collectively magnificent sound to our lovely little town. 

Folk Music News in West Central Wisconsin

Curtis and Loretta - March 14, 2007

Saw this folk duo at Old Gem Theater tonight in New Richmond. Thank the good Lord that I did. It has been a long time, I think, since I have heard music that moved my heart so deeply. 

The thing that impresses me about Curtis and Loretta, is that they love history, they love songs, they love instruments, and they love people. Hearing them was a gift. 

Thank you, Curtis and Loretta, for a lovely evening. And Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Minneapolis Star Tribune

For nearly 30 years and seven albums, Curtis & Loretta have developed a winning niche with their arsenal of Celtic and American traditional tunes, Loretta Simonet originals that unfold like short stories, antique stringed instruments and organic harmonies. The duo’s new CD,”Just My Heart For You,” adds a little Yiddish music and Stephen Foster to the mix.   

 

The Onion A.V. Club (Minneapolis)

Husband-and-wife team Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet are living treasures of the Twin Cities folk scene, with a body of music rich in lovely harmonies and delicately wrought mandolin and harp.   Though there’s plenty of traditional material on the duo’s new “Just My Heart For You,” it’s Simonet’s originals that are the real lifeblood. 

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Husband-and-wife folk duos are common in the Twin Cities -- Bill and Judy,
Neal and Leandra,Curtis and Loretta. But there's nothing commonplace about
their latest disc, "Sit Down Beside Me," a collection of traditional songs
from the British Isles. Loretta Simonet has a jewel of a voice,while Curtis
Teague's warm baritone and instrumentals are consistently impressive.
(8 p.m. today,Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. $12. 612-338-2674).

Dirty Linen

Curtis & Loretta

“Sit Down Beside Me”

For their latest CD, “Sit Down Beside Me,” Minneapolis duo Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet chose to interpret a set of familiar songs and tunes from the British Isles.  Loretta’s almost operatic alto and Curtis’ rich tenor form a lush, polished and varied vocal blend.  The pair’s instrumental interplay is equally compelling, with Loretta’s harp textures dancing in and around Curtis’ deft guitar and mandolin lines.  This is an elegant recording, satisfying from start to finish.

 

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Sep 16, 2017
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The Critics Say...

"Loretta's almost operatic alto and Curtis' rich tenor form a lush, polished and varied vocal blend. The pair's instrumental interplay is equally compelling, with Loretta's harp textures dancing in and around Curtis' deft guitar and mandolin lines." 

.....Dirty Linen

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