This ‘Reform School Girl’ Was Locked Up With Vintage Gear

When Austin garage rocker and “powerhouse performer” (All Music Guide) Nick Curran went into the Fort Horton studio in Wyldwood, Texas to produce and record what would become ‘Reform School Girl’ (out from Eclecto Groove February 16th), he says he wanted “a recording that sounds like it’s gonna explode out of your stereo at all times,” and one listen will tell you that he succeeded. ‘Reform School Girl’ is a raucous collection that brings to mind both the sounds of Specialty Records – early home to one of Curran’s heroes, Little Richard – and the Ramones.

“I dig a kind of lo-fi recording sound, but one that doesn’t sound like sh*t,” he continues. “Sometimes people think that to get something to sound cool and old, it has to sound bad. The way we do it, it’s still sonically great.” Those who hear ‘Reform School Girl’ will agree.

Much of that sound results from the analog equipment and vintage instruments Curran and co-producer Billy Horton (bassist in Curran’s band the Lowlifes) used in the studio. Curran played a variety of guitars, including a classic Gretsch, a Squier ’51, and an ’80s Kramer, best known as an Eddie Van Halen favorite. Of the latter, Curran marvels, “It’s one of the guitars that sounds the best in the studio, but you would totally not think it would.” Curran and Horton also used tube amplifiers including a Tweed Fender Champ, first introduced in 1955; a Tweed Fender Deluxe from the ’50s, known for its saturated tone; and a Blackheart 5 watt combo.

“Some songs are very simply produced,” Curran says, “but on the title track we actually ran outta tracks on that and had to add a bunch more on. We were really trying to get a Phil Spector-ish sound on that, so we made sure we put too much of everything on that one!”

Nick Curran: vox & guitar
Billy Horton: bass, percussion & background vox
Derek Bossanova: piano & background vox
Jon Doyle: tenor sax
Dan Torosian: tenor & baritone sax
Nikki K: drums, percussion & background vox

Jason Ricci: harmonica on “Reel Rock Party”
Chris Ruest: rhythm guitar on “Flyin Blind”
Phil Alvin: vox & guitar on “Flyin’ Blind”

“Comin’ on like a sci-fi hybrid of T-Bone Walker, Little Richard, and Guitar Slim, guitarist/singer Nick Curran is a powerhouse performer who owes a strong debt to blues and rockabilly artists of the ’50s.” – All Music Guide

“Nick and his group mix jump blues, boogie, and greasy rock and roll into a perfect stew.” – Vintage Guitar

“…just a total ass-kicker.” – Jimmie Vaughan

Produced by Nick Curran & Billy Horton • Executive Producers: Randy Chortkoff & Robert Fitzpatrick • Recorded at Fort Horton Studios, Wyldwood TXX • Engineered by Billy Horton • Harmonica Recorded and Engineered in Nashville, TN by Phillp Wolfe • Artwork, Design, & Photography by Joshua Temkin ( • reform school girl model: Kristin Gunn • Recording Studio Photography by by Veronica Arispe • Liner Notes by Phil Alvin • Retail by Jeff Fleenor • Radio by Jody Best • Eclecto Groove / Delta Groove Business Affairs by Malcolm Wiseman

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 5:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

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