the Weary times
Steeped in Vintage Blues and early Rock n’ Roll, the Weary Times have carved out a sound both nostalgic and truly their own. The Boise, Idaho based band is fronted by Michigan born signer songwriter Ryan Curtis and joined by Mike Simon on guitar, Mike Swain on keys, Nick Archibald on bass and Ben Wieland on drums.
The band got its start four years ago, when Curtis’ former band, alt-country outfit, Curtis/Sutton & Scavengers was on a break prior to releasing their second record. Hungry to pick up some shows he connected with keyboardist, Mike Swain in hopes of putting together a solo project for fun and occasional gigs. The two hit it off right away and as each additional player was added to the mix, the small side project quickly turned into the main outlet for Curtis’ writing. The band made it into the studio in 2018, tracking most of their forthcoming record at Osmosis Studios in Meridian, ID, and mixing at Ground Control Recording in Seattle, WA. The finished product, an ambitious 13 track self-titled debut is set for a July 19th release date.
The new record showcases the band’s wide ranging sound, ironed out over years playing bar-to-bar across Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. The lead-off single “Best for You” is a soulful garage rocker, with Farfisa keys and a big, wall of sound chorus, filled with echo and early 60’s fuzz. Juxtapose that with do-wop cuts like “Why are you so Lonely” and “Give & Take”, both interesting & darker takes on the staple format of the tender 1950's love song. “I’m far too old to leave a good looking corpse, but I ain’t young enough to change course” Curtis sings in "Give & Take", a lonely hearts ballad of an aging loner looking back on his wasted youth.
“Hard Times” originally released as single in 2018 and “Piece of Mind” show a more soulful side of the band. They also showcase keys player Michael Swain’s retro electric piano and overdriven Wurlitzer organ, distinct vintage sounds that are all over the record. Also, ever present is lead guitar player, Micheal Simon’s, slow hand playing style reminisce of the British blues rock movement of the mid-sixties. He comes front in center on the album’s bluesier cuts like “I Don’t Know Why", “Anymore”, and “I ain’t Done Drinking”.
The album also contains a couple odd balls, “I Swore” a surf punk number that shouldn’t, but somehow make perfect sense on the album. Curtis along with half of The Weary Times cut their teeth in punk bands as teenagers and you can catch those roots sneaking though in the sing along “ohhs” of the chorus. The album’s closer, “Way Down” is easily the most unique sounding cut on the record. The song starts a slow burning, minor blues crawl with Curtis’, Waits-like rasp, intensified by weeping steel guitar, cello, and Swain’s down right spooky piano work. As the song hits the 2 minute mark the drums come roaring in for an instrumental jam, uniquely textured and diverse as the record itself.
You can tell the intent of the album was to create something new and unique, while still operating in the structures and vintage tones of American Mid-Twentieth Century Music. You can hear the classic, but diverse influences of legendary bluesmen, hillbilly rock n’ rollers, street corner R'n'B crooners and sixties garage rockers throughout the songs on The Weary Times. Blending the old and the new, Boise's roots rock'n'rollers have cooked up one hell of a debut record. You can hear for yourself, July 19th 2019.