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"At It Again"

Posted 12/31/69

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – There is an undeniable Southern swagger in every note of The Curt Towne Band’s new release, “At It Again.”

The band is delightfully unafraid to display their “old …

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"At It Again"


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – There is an undeniable Southern swagger in every note of The Curt Towne Band’s new release, “At It Again.”

The band is delightfully unafraid to display their “old school” brand of Southern rock. The music is edgy yet smooth. It has a blend of honky-tonk and classic rock. It has blues.

“I try to put a lot of effort into everything,” Towne said. “I’m always pouring everything into anything I do. This was no different. With all the negative things going on, we decided to be positive.”

The project took three years to complete. The band had time booked Martell Studios in Kingsland, Georgia, for the album. Then, COVID-19 shut down the world.

As things slowly returned to normal, the band had trouble fitting studio time into their touring schedule and personal lives.

“We had a block of time for recording, but we started touring,” Towne said. “It was more of a challenge, but we’re extremely proud of the effort. So are the guys.”

Barry Rapp, who played with the Henry Paul Band, wrote or co-wrote seven songs, including what may become the band’s anthem, “West Side.” Fleming Island’s keyboard player and singer has spent over 50 years in the music business.

The rest of the band includes drummer Mike “Thunderfoot” Cansler on drums, Orange Park’s Greg “GT” Thompson on bass and Carol Bristow-Zur on background vocals.

“I started out playing cover bands and always wanted to do originals because that’s where you really find the most long-lasting success,” Thompson said. “So it’s our own style. So you gotta be a little different, do your own thing to separate. We did it our way.”

The band has opened for nearly every legendary Southern Rock band. None have been more accommodating than Lynyrd Skynyrd. The two were paired for a two-nights in St. Augustine last month, and Skynyrd frontman Johnny Van Zant and lead guitarist Rickey Medlocke joined Towne’s band on stage at Whitey’s Fish Camp for “Sweet Home Alabama.”

The CTB also has played with ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker Band, 38 Special, Molly Hatchet, Blackberry Smoke, Van Zant, Mongomery Gentry, Hank Williams Jr., The Outlaws, Atlanta Rhythm Section and Pat Travers.

They guitars and cars They got stars and bars Down at the Wishing Well They’re drinking rebel yell They got (barbecue) chicken on the grill Drinking moonshine liquor for the whiskey still On the west side It’s the best side

The band released “At It Again” at Food Truck Friday on Nov. 3. Great Britain’s voodooradio.online offered a glowing review, calling it “exceptional brilliance.” It also reported, “This musical odyssey isn’t merely an exploration; it’s a sonic masterpiece that effortlessly earns the well-deserved crown of the paramount album of 2023 for this humble scribe.”

Everyone in the band has been playing for decades, but there’s something special about creating new music.

“No matter how long you do this, it kind of gives you a jolt of energy to have something new, and something that’s yours and it belongs to you,” Cansler said.

“I think it turned out it turned out really good. You know, we took some extra time to polish it and get it the way we wanted. I’m proud of it. I like the way they all turned out. Everybody’s got their favorites, you know. Some people have ‘Cyclone’ and other people have ‘Sleeping Dogs’ or ‘Flowers.’”

Towne decided to add the Beatles’ “Let It Be” because it was one of his favorite songs. Unsurprisingly, the piano introduction had obvious hints of Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”

“My attitude is to have fun, express fun,” Towne said. “That’s what we did. We’re always working, always creating. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Everyone seems to love it.”

Record stores in Germany and Brazil have already purchased more than 300 copies of the album.

One the west side It’s the best side If you’re looking for a thrill The west side It’s the best side Of old Jacksonville We got the beach We got the river All points in between We got the finest looking women That you’ve ever seen

The album cover shows an orange motorcycle helmet. Towne said he used to ride motorcycles a lot and wanted something that would pay tribute to one of his heroes, Evel Knievel.

Neither have been afraid to push the limit. Towne said his family quickly noticed his immersion in the new project.

“When we were working on this album, my mom said, ‘You’re at it again.’ I said, ‘Funny you should say that.’”

One of the songs on “At It Again” is called “Ain’t Done Yet.”

Thompson said the delays and effort were worth it.

“You finally get everything coming together in the final mix, and that’s why people don’t realize how much time it takes to get a good product,” he said.

The album is available on all streaming platforms, and it can be purchased at Towne’s Guitar Station at 421 Walnut St. in Green Cove Springs.

“It’s a journey,” Towne said. “It’s fun. It can be challenging. We’ll be firing up the touring engine again real soon. We ain’t done yet.”

Well if you ever find yourself Around the Florida-Georgia line Well come on down baby to the warm sunshine Yeah come on down You can be my guest Come on down baby Let me do the rest On the west side It’s the best side