It's Where You Hang Your Hat
Curtis & Loretta
Named "Best Acoustic Performers of the Twin Cities" by City Pages, this husband and wife duo excels in tight harmonies, lots of stringed instruments, poignant original songs, and timeless traditional songs.
"There’s something about the charming local folk duo Curtis & Loretta that transcends their talents on a variety of stringed instruments, their finely interwoven vocal harmonies, and their ability to make traditional folk tunes--mostly from the British Isles--shimmer with fresh vitality. That secret ingredient is at the core of Loretta’s songwriting (Curtis ain’t no slouch on that score either.) With a journalist’s eye for detail and a knack for tugging at heartstrings while cutting to the quick of an issue, she writes riveting songs such as 'Elza and Branko (The Siege of Sarajevo)' from the duo’s 1994 album 'It’s Where You Hang Your Hat.' She based it on a newspaper account of an elderly couple sustained only by love in their struggle to survive the privations of the Balkan wars. Years later, Loretta learned Branko had died, but Elza was living in abject poverty in Croatia."
...Rick Mason, City Pages A-List (Minneapolis)
“They are acclaimed multi-instrumentalists with extraordinary harmonies. I got their latest album for review and was bowled over.”
...Vic Heyman, Vic’s Music Corner, Washington D.C.
“Beautiful music and good words too. Tears and shaking breath during ‘Elza and Branko.’ Strong stuff.” ....Berk Snow, KMUD Radio, Redway, Calif.
"When Curtis and Loretta played our Friday at the Ford concert at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in spring 2003, the crowd was very entertained by their mixture of songs and humor. Before some songs they told stories about the songs or themselves. I saw them again at another location later that year and the show was completely fresh. They repeated some songs but the telling of their stories was all new. They are no canned act. They are really friendly people who happen to have a lot of musical talent.
I have been listening to their 1994 CD It's Where You Hang Your Hat. On this CD they play a mix of American folk songs and original compositions. Highlights include the title song, their rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Deportee: Plane Wreck at Los Gatos," and Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire." Loretta's "Dance in the Hallways" tells her story of working at candy counter, where she was charged by the boss to keep children from smudging the glass; of course, she sided with the children. Curtis' "What is the Name of This Town?" is a tuneful drifter-wants-to-find-a-home song. I have been humming these songs for days." ...Rick Roche, Thomas Ford Memorial Library, Western Springs, IL
MORE INFO ON CURTIS & LORETTA
Curtis & Loretta’s music comes straight from the heart. The husband and wife duo’s extraordinary harmonies and proficiency on a parade of stringed instruments create an alluring frame for their poignant original songs, and carefully chosen traditional pieces from the British Isles, America, and beyond. The current menagerie includes Celtic harp, mandocello, mandolin, guitars, clawhammer banjo, and National steel ukulele, plus a bit of kazoo, harmonica, and shakers.
The duo married twenty-one years ago, in Santiago, Mexico. But eleven years earlier, in the spring of 1977, they chanced to meet each other on the beach just outside Santa Cruz, California. Their best guesstimate of the actual day is sometime in April. Love was born, a duo was formed, and they took to the road, hitchhiking up and down the West Coast, playing in cafes, and on the street.
Over the next three decades, Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet’s harmonies have gotten tighter than ever, their stage presence has blossomed, and they’ve graduated from the street to dedicated fans at folk clubs across the U.S. They rack up 40,000 miles a year, crisscrossing the country to deliver their own unique brand of folk singer/songwriter music. They’ve shared billings with Jez Lowe, Vassar Clements, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Anne Hills, Greg Brown, Holly Near, and Bill Staines, to name just a few.
Their heartfelt original songs have won them fans throughout the U.S. and overseas. Curtis & Loretta revel in writing songs about the heroism and integrity of real-life, ordinary people, often people they actually know. “Angel of Bergen-Belsen” is the story of Luba Tryszynska, a holocaust survivor who saved 54 children during World War II. Curtis & Loretta sought her out and met her after writing the song, and have visited her four times at her home in Miami. “Gone Forever” tells the heart wrenching story of Loretta coming to terms with her dad’s Alzheimer's. “Elza and Branko (The Siege of Sarajevo)” details the love and bravery of a couple living through the Balkan wars. Curtis & Loretta located Elza (now a widow) a couple years ago, and stay in contact with her.
Rick Mason wrote in the Minneapolis City Pages A-List, “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.”
And though it’s not commonly known, folksingers do want to have fun! The duo’s perennial humor shines through, with songs of harp players trying to get into heaven, small spenders on first dates, bugs, and lutefisk! In 2002, City Pages named them “Best Acoustic Performers of the Twin Cities.” They’ve received numerous Minnesota Music Award nominations for Best Acoustic Folk Artist.
Last year saw them touring in support of their latest CD, “Just My Heart For You,” which is on the “Top Albums of 2006” on folk dj (http://folkradio.org). They also made that website’s “Top Artists of 2006.” In the spring, they spent two months on the West Coast, playing folk clubs from Seattle, to Portland, to Sacramento. In the fall they made their fourth pilgrimage to spend time with Luba in Miami, singing her song at concerts all along the way. In December, a Christmas card and letter arrived from Croatia, written in Elza’s hand. Curtis & Loretta live and breathe folk music. It’s not something they put away at the end of the day, not something they ever want to “retire from.” It’s woven inextricably into their lives.
Curtis grew up in Duncanville, Texas, singing harmony in small country churches. He taught himself to play guitar, and everything else he’s come across in his ongoing quest for vintage stringed instruments. He has a diploma in Musical Stringed Instrument Repair and Building from Red Wing Technical College in Minnesota. Loretta grew up in Stillwater, the historic river town known as the “birthplace of Minnesota.” She sang in church, high school, and college choirs, and graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater (acting). She currently studies voice with Jeannie Brindley-Barnett.
CURTIS TEAGUE Vocals, mandocello, mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, ukulele, harmonica LORETTA SIMONET Vocals, Celtic harp, guitar, mandolin, kazoo, shakers