Matthew Curry isn’t old enough to buy a beer at the corner store, and he probably only has a learner’s permit for driving, but he’s obviously obsessed and infatuated with the blues! There’s no question that the 16-year-old electric lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter has some chops. At age eleven, a veteran blues musician gave him the nickname of Little Big Man. It’s great when veteran musicians take a young prodigy under their wings to show him the ropes and tricks of the trade.
This nine-song album is the successful result. Matthew Curry is obviously a fast learner, and the Bloomington, Illinois, high school student is wired with music. Curry fronts a stellar quartet called “The Fury” that also includes Randy Hoffman (guitar), Greg Neville (drums, backup vocals), and Jeff Paxton (bass, backup vocals). The Fury describes these guys well because they play with passion, fervor, and excitement. If you think this album is another home-produced family outing to promote a young knee-high-to-a-grasshopper musician developing his craft, then you’d better think again. Matthew Curry displays voice and sensibility well beyond his years.
Co-produced by Erik Nelson (keyboards) and Karyl Carlson (backup vocals), If I Don’t Got You contains all Matthew Curry originals with the exception of the two closers from Charley Patton (“High Water Everywhere”) and Warren Haynes (“Soulshine”). That tells me that young Matthew has studied the seminal blues masters, and he has abundant respect for guys like Patton, who was the original king of the Delta blues with his hoarse, impassioned singing in the 1930s. Curry also shows he’s tuned in with music of The Allman Brothers Band and the loud, brash, hard-rocking blues style of guitarists Dickey Betts, Dan Toler, and Warren Haynes. Son, if we’re lucky, we’ll hear Curry cover Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” on a future release.