The final tour
So many people have told Catie Curtis that her songs are like companions, soundtracks for their lives. In her ‘90s gay-rights classic, “Radical,” she sang, “I’m not being radical when I kiss you/ And I don’t love you to make a point.” The intimacy with which she expressed her lesbian identity helped others through their own difficult journey to openness. “To me, a song is like a conversation with a friend,” she says. “Like when you’re sharing stories with friends, there’s always a lot of ‘Yeah, yeah, me, too.’ There’s a kind of voice you use when you talk to someone you’re comfortable with. That’s the voice I look for in my songs.” In the mid-'90s, Catie was a budding newcomer in a Boston folk scene that was producing stars like Dar Williams and Tracy Chapman. In 1995, she lost her glasses and, needing money for new ones, took a gig at New York’s Bottom Line. She was discovered and signed by EMI/Guardian Records, joining Joan Baez, Jimmy Webb, and the Nields. Perhaps too quickly, she skyrocketed to major-label star. “They reminded me that, first and foremost, I was a product,” she says. “My A&R guy actually told me, ‘You need to learn to be more of a diva,’ because I was dressing casually and going out to talk to fans after shows. They were trying to build me into something larger than life. It wasn’t a perfect fit that way.” But it did launch her career. She moved on to successful tenures at Rykodisc, Vanguard and Compass. What sustains her long career, however, is the concert stage. Club Passim’s Matt Smith says, “She doesn’t bother following trends; she’s true to herself but continues to push the boundary of what she does. And she always brings the audience along for the ride.” And consider this from Mary Chapin Carpenter: “Catie takes something that’s very difficult, that takes enormous skill and natural gifts, and makes it look easy. I know it takes years and years to feel that comfortable on a stage, to know yourself and how to bring people in like she can. You feel like you’re being transported, that you know her, and that’s she’s given you something of herself.” Portland, Maine, singer-songwriter Connor Garvey is special guest, bringing "acoustic funky folk rock for the good-hearted."
Catie has announced that this will be her final tour and her final appearance at The Ark.