Featured Band: Gracie Curran & The High Falutin’ Band

Posted on October 26, 2014

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By: Michelle Quina

PhotoCred_Kathleen Marucci

Photo credit: Kathleen Marucci

Musicians on Beale Street never cease to surprise me, and The High Falutin’ was no exception. A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I went to Rum Boogie Café, where The High Falutin’ Band was playing. The band is comprised of Erik Kramer on bass, Tom Carroll on guitar, John Wood on drums and Gracie Curran’s vocals. The band had Memphis natives and visitors who were lucky enough to stop by Rum Boogie that night singing and dancing all night long.  

Gracie’s voice will give you chills. Her powerful voice and outgoing and warm personality allows her to connect with audiences on a personal level.

“The connection is what I love. Telling a story and having everyone in the room realize they have felt the same way at one point… it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something in life,” Curran explains.

Gracie’s interest in music started at a very early age. “I grew up in a very musical household.  When the neighbors would complain about the loud music coming from my house, it was usually my mother and she’d be rocking out to Carly Simon, Bette Midler or Etta James. My parents musical influences helped me discover the Blues and Soul, and since then, I’ve been ruined for life.”

The blues and soulful influences of her parents can be seen throughout all of The High Falutin’ Band’s music. Their debut album Proof of Love consists of entirely original music inspired by Gracie’s own experiences. Her goal is to be as honest as she can be through her lyrics. Connecting with fans through her lyrics, she claims, is “motivating for a songwriter and healing on a personal level”.

Aside from her early blues and soul influences, Gracie looks to emulate singers like Etta James and Sharon Jones.  “Not only are their voices unique, powerful and emotive, but so is their energy. It’s just so honest. They are both very strong women and there is something about them that I connect with on a very deep, soul squeezing level. The first time I saw Sharon perform, the way that she gave every ounce of her being and her energy to her audience, it made me realize that I don’t deserve to step foot on stage unless I’m prepared to give it all away.”

The High Falutin’ Band spends a lot of their time on tour. In May they had the opportunity to play at Legends, owned by Buddy Guy, in Chicago. Buddy Guy joined the The High Falutin’ Band on stage for a couple of songs.  Gracie claims this was one of the most memorable moments in her music career because four years earlier, Buddy Guy’s son let her into a sold out concert after explaining to him how much seeing the concert meant to her. “I will never forget how seeing Buddy Guy and his family’s kindness affected me.” Gracie explained how playing with Buddy years later made her feel as though her music career had come full circle.

Gracie decided to move from Boston to Memphis after passing through Memphis a few times while on tour. “I was always greeted with that feeling of coming home.”  

Although she absolutely loves touring and being in a different city every night, “for a musician, Memphis is a very special place.” She explains how Memphis makes “you feel the vibes of the great music that came before.” Gracie feels at home in Memphis, Tennessee due to it being the home of the blues and soul. “I listen to all kinds of music but when I hear blues, it has such an effect on me. I just feel it differently than other styles of music.”

Gracie and The High Falutin’ Band were recently nominated for “Best New Artist” at the Blues Music Awards. “The blues community and the Memphis community are very supportive of its musicians, and we really appreciate it. We just want to keep working hard and making great music.”  

Gracie hopes to continue traveling with her bandmates and sharing her passion for music with others, but she loves returning and playing in Memphis.

“We look forward to playing in Memphis for all the people who are looking to hear great Memphis music. There is a responsibility for us to give them that and preserve the Memphis legacy.”

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Posted in: Music