Not exactly a Portland musician Exodus for other parts, but heading TO Nashville, LA, NYC or Austin is often a necessity if you have a need to grow artistically.   



If you have caught Ty Curtis playing around the NW, you already know what I know. He is technically skilled, has musical depth and understanding of the form, and there’s a load of style and generosity toward fellow players. If he left for Austin, it’s because of some very specific need-to-know things in his musical life.


Photo Credit: Teri Briggs

I caught up with Ty at the first day of the Waterfront Blues Festival at a great Happy Hour set at Hotel Rose. Work commitments in Austin prevented him from committing until last minute to the bigger Festival stages, which he definitely deserves. Plus the new album is finalizing for release. He’s doing a few shows around the NW, then coming for the CD release August 1st, Water Under the Bridge promises to be a return to Ty’s blues roots with two guitars (when one is not enough).

Enjoy the conversation and Teri Brigg’s background writeup as well.



New this year at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is the Happy Hour show at Bottle + Kitchen at the Hotel Rose on Naito Parkway and Morrison Street each day from 4-6 p.m. Kicking things off, Ty Curtis and band performed to a crowd of close to 40 enthusiastic fans. Since moving to Austin, Texas last year you need to catch a Ty show when you can. Luckily for us, he comes to Portland fairly often. His set included the old familiars as well as some from his new album, Water Under the Bridge, which will debut August 1st at Salem’s Kathken Vineyards.

I have seen Ty in many settings, both large and small. Last year, he played to hundreds on the First Tech Blues Stage; today to a small, intimate crowd. No matter the setting, Ty always delivers that raw energy and incredible guitar technique he is known for. The new album is one he’s worked on for the past year, and is a reflection of the changes his family has gone through in recent years. A little known secret is that he and his Mom co-write most of his songs but she has never wanted the credit for it. His ‘Bring It On Home’ brought the couples to the dance floor with lyrics like “If you’ve ever changed your mind about leaving me behind, bring your sweet lovin, bring it on home to me”. His rousing ‘Cherry City Boogie’ was written when he was stuck in traffic one Salem day and all he wanted was to get out of there and play his guitar,:!/s/Cherry+City+Boogie/2rcqpV?src=5.

The crowd roared when he let loose on his guitar in typical Ty fashion. His “Out in the Country “ “to ease a brooding mind, where good times never end”, is truly a song written for us all when we need that break from the wheel spinning that can go on in our minds. Other notable songs, was a Louis Jordan tune, and ‘Sweet Home Kokomo’.

Ty closed out the evening with the DME Portland Spirit Blues Cruise along with Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials, Bombino, Blind Boy Paxton, Home Made Jamz, Lauren Sheehan, and Lloyd Jones. His only other Portland show will be an early one at The Lehrer on July 13th. Ty’s move to Austin has brought new depth to his performances, and has enhanced his life with time spent on the lake, plenty of exercise, and a regular gig with the Hudson Moore country band. His was the first show for me in what will be four amazing music-filled days, and what a gift that was!

~Teri Briggs