May 13, 2019

Curtis Eller's American Circus: A Poison Melody

photo: Alex Maness

Curtis Eller's American Circus is one of those extremely rare acts who can mix politics and fun and find a perfect balance between the two. On their new album A Poison Melody they touch base with nuclear war (Radiation Poison), hitting the airwaves without business folks calling the shots (No Soap Radio), the godfather of stand-up comedy Lenny Bruce and flooding (Waist Deep In the Big Muddy).

They still sound old time folk jazz big band firing on all cylinders, the kind that is here to entertain and teach. Band leader Curtis Eller plays a mean banjo, bass player Hugh Crumley lays down swinging bottom end, but it's Steve Cowles who steals the show with his flute parts. Alan Lomax would have loved them and sung his praises about the two-punch Before the Riot and After the Riot about racial prejudices.

Curtis Eller's American Circus:
Curtis Eller: lead vocals, banjo, resophonic tenor guitar
Dana Marks: harmony vocals
Stacy Wolfson: harmony vocals
Hugh Crumley: electric & upright bass
Jack Fleishman: drums, percussion
Steve Cowles: tenor saxophone, flute
Danny Grewen: trombone
Danny Abrams: baritone saxophone, clarinet
William Dawson: vibraphone
Tom Merrigan: piano

A Poison Melody is a self-released album (vinyl, CD, digital). Buy it from their website Release date: May 30.

  1. Radiation Poison
  2. No Soap Radio
  3. Poison Melody
  4. Union Hall
  5. These Birds
  6. Pay the Band
  7. Lenny Bruce
  8. Waist Deep In the Big Muddy
  9. Before the Riot
  10. After the Riot
  11. No Words to Choose

Live dates:
  • 05/30 Green Note, London, United Kingdom
  • 05/31 The Tin Music and Arts, Coventry, United Kingdom
  • 06/01 Cube Cinema, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 06/02 Bath Fringe at Old Theatre Royal, Bath, United Kingdom
  • 06/03 The Greys, Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 06/05 The Ferret, Preston, United Kingdom
  • 06/06 Night & Day Cafe, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 06/07 The Greystones, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 06/08 The New Adelphi Club, Hull, United Kingdom
  • 06/11 Blues Bar, Harrogate, United Kingdom
  • 06/12 "Young gs Present" at All Saints Church, York, United Kingdom
  • 06/13 The Hug and Pint, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 06/14 The Cluny 2, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • 06/15 Wharf Chambers, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 06/29 Album Release Party at Motorco, Durham, NC
  • 07/13 Saturdays in Saxapahaw, Saxapahaw, NC
  • 08/25 The Wicked Witch, Raleigh, NC


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