The Curtis Mayflower
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The Curtis Mayflower

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Blues Rock




"Special Boston Playlist"

This is a heavy album that, while often dark and gloomy, is somehow incredibly energizing. What is particularly impressive is that this album arrives immaculately fully-fashioned from a group that just formed last year. And did I mention that most of their songs were written in the moment, essentially improvised? These guys ain’t messing around, they came to play.

“Crawl No More” opens with an ominous hook but quickly builds into a fiery rocker. “Ain’t gonna crawl no more,” growls singer Craig Rawding, “go find another dog.”

The quintet gets their groove on with the funky “NYCD” while “Cold and Dark” has a blustery blues feel burnished with some simmering organ. “Ben the Destroyer” lives up to its name with an intense and bruising beat.

The intensity remains even when they slow the tempo down. “Devil Wants to Get Paid” leads off with a retro electric piano but the band quickly joins to kick things up a notch. The brooding “Punchline” finds Rawding asking, “I don’t even know why I’m laughing when I’m the punchline to the joke.”

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Curtis Mayflower. You’ll be glad that you did. -

"The Curtis Mayflower Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack"

The first studio release from The Curtis Mayflower titled Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack is a combination of talent, great songwriting, and beautiful haunting melodies. This is what happens when you take five of the best musicians from the Central Massachusetts area and send them up to an old farmhouse in Maine to record an album in 24 hours. Done mostly in one take the album is a compilation of lush sounds and hard driving bluesy rock that defies putting this band into a genre. The band is made up of Craig Rawding (lead vocals, harmonica),Duncan Arsenault (drums, percussion),Jeremy Moses Curtis (bass, backing vocals), Brooks Milgate (keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Pete Aleksi (guitar, backing vocals).
The album opens with the tune “Clockwork Hearts” a rocker that starts off with haunting piano melody that sets the tone for the song, then the vocals and guitar come crashing in with Rawding asking ” What makes you tick, darling? What makes you sick, darling? Clockwork hearts have broken parts but there’s a fix, darling”. This song is a great lead in to the record as it shows the range of the band musically and vocally.

“Crawl No More” is a straight up blues rocker reminiscent of some of the 70′s Allman Brothers Band work, the roar of the guitars, drums and the keyboards complete the song. Vocally this tune covers it all with Craig at his howling best with lines like “Ain’t going to crawl no more, go find another dog”.

The song “Last Kiss” is one of my favorite cuts on the record, a tune that sounds and feels like a long lost Otis Redding song. A truly soulful experience “She kissed me for the last time here where I lay, you know I ain’t moving out, since she said goodbye, I wish I could cry…..” this song relies on vocal emotion and Craig delivers it. The backing music provides the strong foundation but doesn’t distract the listener from the emotional power in his voice.

“Punchline” is another bluesy tune with lyrics like “Laughed so hard I cried laughed so hard I choked, don’t even know why I’m laughing, when I’m the punch line to the joke”, this song really peaks out with guitarist Pete Aleksi’s style and tone ripping away at the end of the song.

“Paraselene” starts with some lush beautiful sounding keyboard noodling from Brooks Milgate until Curtis’ bass line creeps in followed by Rawding’s raspy vocals completing the dreamy feel of this song. Lyrically this song has it all “Nothing is for certain and the moon is split in two and I wonder if the sky above me is darkest over you or did you find the bright side of the moon” and “the band is up for homicide they’ve murdered Claire de Lune, don’t turn on the sun while everyone’s hiding their wounds and looking for the bright side of the moon. This song is chock full of metaphors and represents how each member, while great solo really come together and compliment each others style.

“Carry Your Burden” starts off sounding like an old Southern blues song with harmonica and acoustic guitar lasting for about 20 seconds when the guitars and keys bring it up to a full blown rocker reminiscent of Savoy Brown meets The Allman Brothers Band.

“Seven Children” is one that brings out the guitar tone of Aleksi, sounding more like Clapton and Cream and Rawding evoking memories of Jack Bruce this is another tune that showcases the cohesive sound of the band at their finest.

“Ben The Destroyer” is another song that, make no mistake about it proves these guys have some rock chops in them. A great rock and roll tune with the driving backbeat reminiscent of The Smitereens provided by Arsenault and Curtis, next to a fuzzed out guitar sound teamed with Milgates keyboards, “Ben is a snake who swallows his own tail”.

“Cold And Dark” and “NYCD” are two songs that bring the bands past musical experiences to play, blues chops galore and each song shows that the band can kick the standard blues up a notch.

The record closer is the tune “The Devil Wants To Get Paid” that starts out proclaiming “Hells on fire I’ve been told, but it feels to me mighty cold” from here the song just swells and states “Your wicked spell has lost its charm, can’t do no good, can’t do no harm, you had your day and now the devil wants to get paid”. Another rocker filled with lyrical imagery and lush keyboards a signature for this album.

A great record that delivers from the first song to the last, highly recommended.

9.1 / 10 — Scott Wilkinson - Scene Point Blank

"Baby Your A Star - The Curtis Mayflower"

What makes you tick, darling? What makes you sick, darling? Clockwork hearts have broken parts but there’s a fix, darling.
Feel can’t be manufactured. A lot of other stuff can be faked or Pro-Tooled these days but feel, the essential intangible to really good music, only occurs naturally. It’s the thing that makes one’s hair stand up long before one understands why. Feel is what makes us hit repeat and gush apostolically about a band’s merits to friends. Central Massachusetts-based The Curtis Mayflower oozes feel from the first bubbling notes through the last moaning chords of their excellent debut albumEverything Beautiful Is Under Attack (released January 28), which vibrates with immediacy, all hot breath and focused attack on this 11-song, live off the floor collection of one-takers.
The Curtis Mayflower at Atwoods, Cambridge MA photo: Marc Blackmer
The Curtis Mayflower at Atwoods, Cambridge MA photo: Marc Blackmer
The Curtis Mayflower play rock ‘n’ roll of the best, broadest kind – Duane-era Allman Brothers and Delaney & Bonnie and the Butterfield Blues Band in their prime spring to mind – delivered with a confidence, manly aura and sure-footed skill that’s downright seductive, a sound with a wide appeal to electric blues nuts, jam band kids, Muscle Shoals enthusiasts, and perhaps Black Keys fans looking for something deeper and more subtle. Pete Aleksi (guitar, backing vocals),Duncan Arsenault (drums, percussion),Jeremy Moses Curtis (bass, backing vocals), Brooks Milgate (keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Craig Rawding (lead vocals, harmonica) get after it with a sincerity, rugged tenacity and earthy vibe. In other words, there’s the unmistakable sense that these dudes are after IT in a most tenacious way all over their debut.
All veteran players with resumes that include stints with Levon Helm, Booker T Jones, Jim Carroll, Mark Burgess and others, the combination of personalities and talents in The Curtis Mayflower is evident real deal chemistry. Together these guys swing, hard and long, and their pleasure and purpose infuse the music. And while they can rock the hell out (“Crawl No More,” “Carry Your Burden” and “Ben The Destroyer” growl and howl convincingly) it’s when they slow it down during the early album sequence of “Last Kiss,” “Punchline” and “Paraselene” that it’s most obvious this band knows what it’s doing, reining in and releasing its power with effective intuition. This sequence is also where the deep soul of Rawding’s lead vocals really emerge, a powerhouse cousin to Frankie Miller, Robert Palmer and Otis Redding. One can easily imagine the closed eyes and clenched fists as he drags out all the feeling inside him and launches it at the listener with walloping force.
Everybody can play in this band, like down in the cut, got that groove by the teeth musicianship, and the Impound is knocked out by the flowing, muscular rhythm team of Curtis and Arsenault, the shifting, sexy keyboard work of Milgate (who brings to mind a merger of Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright and young Gregg Allman), and the way guitarist Pete Aleksi burns hard in the right measures but shines equally well when he embeds himself in the sinews. There’s not a ton of solos and the preference for textures and ensemble playing intensifies the feeling of a group effort. Cool little touches abound on Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack, including some sweet baritone sax from Dana Colley on “Clockwork Hearts”.
The Curtis Mayflower joins the growing ranks of what Dirty Impound calls the Real Rock Revolution. It ain’t happening on video channels or most commercial radio stations but something bred in the bone and birthed from Classic Rock’s soil is emerging, and these cats join Dead Boots, Ghosts of Jupiter, Futurebirds, Powder Mill, Rose Hill Drive, The Steepwater Band, Lions In The Street, Go By Ocean and a handful of others uninterested in catering to industry tastes but utterly committed to forging tough, craftsman-wise and gut level true music. It’s also a fair guess that if one is partial to what the Tedeschi-Trucks Band is laying down these days they’re going to find a lot simpatico in The Curtis Mayflower – savvy blues fest organizers take note.
Bottom line, this band is in it to make music that means something to them. There’s zero hint of market planning or demographic catering, just music for the beautiful, life-affirming sake of it, suffused with heart and skill, ready to soundtrack the working weeks and long hours folks face every sunrise. - Dirty Impound

" reviews Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack"

Perhaps it's best to start at the end, amid freezing cold hell fire and an unexpected sense of freedom, a razed battlefield of love where everyone ends up paying a price and the Devil inevitably gets his due.

This is the note on which local supergroup The Curtis Mayflower ends its new album, "Everything Beautiful is Under Attack," which the band will be releasing Jan. 24 at Beatnik's in Worcester.

And it's absolutely devastating.

"Your wicked spell has lost its charm," sings Craig Rawding on "The Devil Wants to Get Paid." "Can't do no good, can't do no harm/ you've had your day/and now the devil wants you to pay."

Rawding brings a deep blues bluster to the song, a forcefulness and emotiveness that's been his hallmark with bands such as the Delta Generators. In any case, he's at the top of his game here, his voice both triumphant and wracked with pain. It's a marvel to listen to, and even more amazing how Rawding manages to sustain that intensity throughout the album.

Perhaps it's the company he's keeping. After all, he and the rest of this band — guitarist Pete Aleksi, drummer Duncan Arsenault, bassist Jeremy Curtis and keyboardist Brooks Milgate — have played in some of the region's most acclaimed musical acts, from The Curtain Society to Big Eyed Rabbit, Hey Now Morris Fader to The Howl. Every musician on this lineup is a pro, and they seem to be bringing out the best in each other here.

The album gets you straight away with the opening track, "Clockwork Hearts" ... a handful of bright notes, each one floating in space. And then a few more. And then a deep rock bass line that brings everything back to earth in a meteor crash.

In some ways, there's a classic feel to the album. It stays mostly within the blues-rock end of the music spectrum. But the way the band manages to transition effortlessly throughout "Clockwork" between these icicle-delicate moments and the thicker, more rock 'n' roll sounds is astounding.

It's also an album driven by a classic theme: Love lost, and the ravages that incurs. But by the time we get to the Southern-rock-driven, sidewinder guitars of "Crawl No More," only the most cynical of hearts won't be sold on the premise. Each song piles heartbreak upon heartbreak, until the music near buckles under the weight.

But there are crevices within the pain. The defiant "Crawl No More" gives way to the tender, resigned "Last Kiss," a heart-rending portrait of something beautiful dissolving, leaving something broken, even slightly terrifying in its wake.

"When she shivers in the cold, cold air," sings Rawding, "does she think with a shudder that I might be there."

The stalkerish vibe is chilling, but that's one of the marvelous things about this album: It paints an unflinching portrait of that sort of heartbreak, of the anger and pain that emerges. All of which begs the question: what was beautiful, and who or what is doing the attacking?

If we're to take this as a portrait of one relationship — and really, there's no reason not to — we end up with one side of a conversation. But even through inference, we're left with the distinct impression that this isn't easy for anyone.

Take, for example, the blues rocker "Carry Your Burden":

"Carry yourself just like a woman scorned/carrying the weight of all that went wrong/like a child in your belly that never gets born/but it's much too late for dying."

It's both good advice and absolutely pitiless, a cold fury that leads the listener for the sultry blues of the dark "Seven Children" and the flat-out rock of "Ben The Destroyer." The listener is shaken, dragged through a torrent of emotion, and then, in "Destroyer," it's all released in a flurry of catharsis.

But it's not over. The next song, the death-musing "Cold and Dark," lives up to its name.

"Is it cold, dark and peaceful underneath that light?"

But then, the tone lightens with the good-night drunk blues tune, "NYCD," before the aforementioned "The Devil Wants to Get Paid," where the album's persona is finally, after all of the agony, left standing amid the wreckage and, for the first time, free of the breakup's pain.

And what was beautiful? Is it the relationship, the destruction of which unleashed a wildfire pain? Or is it something else, something deep inside the persona, a part of himself that his inability to let go of the pain is endangering. Is he, in a very real way, the one doing the attacking?

The album leaves you with questions. And if you're not entirely heartless, perhaps a few tears. It's an arresting piece of work, one which you can excavate new layers of with each listening.

Email Victor D. Infante at, or follow him on Twitter at @ocvictor. -

""Everything Beautiful" - Matt Rober"

The January 2014 release of The Curtis Mayflower’s debut CD, “Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack,” will set a high mark early in the year for best CD, one which will undoubtedly raise the stakes by which area bands play.
The Curtis Mayflower is the combined result of decades of individual work and commitment and an unlikely scene in an unlikely place that provided the centripetal force that eventually brought these five select players together.
Their debut CD, too, is an organic outcropping of this little scene in this little place – Duncan Arsenault’s six-year run of Thursday nights at Green Street’s Dive Bar – where Worcester’s faithful came out in increasing numbers to experience free, varied and exciting music without too much hype.
Fittingly (perhaps coincidentally) in the same spirit that produced The Band’s landmark “Music from Big Pink,” the record was recorded in an out-of-the-way Maine farmhouse in a simple fashion, quickly and without pomp and circumstance.
Great things seem to come of this method.
The band, Pete Aleksi (guitar), Arsenault (drums), Jeremy Curtis (bass), Brooks Milgate (keys), and Craig Rawding (vocals, harmonica), has a resume of individual accomplishments that can’t be topped, including work with The Delta Generators, The Curtain Society, Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, Booker T. Jones, Levon Helm, Big Eyed Rabbit, Hey Now, Morris Fader and Beg, Scream & Shout, among others. In some cases, this could be a problem.
Not here.
Curtis calls the formation of The Curtis Mayflower “serendipitous” and says that the five musicians are “all on the same page” and “willing to turn each other on to different stuff.”
In other words, they have chemistry and shared vision. It comes through in spades on the record, where each player tips his hand to personal tastes, but the overall sound lies tantalizingly beyond categorization. Don’t get me wrong. This is, at heart, a blues and soul record, territory more than familiar to each member of the band. (Any soul band would proudly claim songs like “NYCD” and “Last Kiss.”) But the conventions of blues and soul have become mere elements of a larger influence, not genre-specific, but of an approach to music, which, like Big Pink, makes use of influence in the service of something new. So, while the ear continually hears familiar tonalities (Aleksi says it’s all “reminiscent of other music”), the end result is a fresh addition to the rock idiom.
“Clockwork Hearts,” which opens the disc, is melancholy with a menacing lock-step guitar lick that will get your head rocking. The dynamic control is phenomenal and the attention to subtleties exciting. The band can make a lot out of an idea that might simply be beaten to death by a lesser band. Everything you need to know about The Curtis Mayflower is revealed here. These cats have soul, and, man! Can they play!
“Seven Children” is a brooding, tribal mood that might be at home on a Pink Floyd record, but soon gives way to a blues lament: “Meet me where the moon’s on fire and the earth is still. I have seven children in the ground.” The band is confident and dynamic, with no hesitation. The guitar solo is pure Robert Cray blues, crisp and melodic.
The exceptions to this general sound are track two, “Ben the Destroyer,” a wild, light-hearted romp of raging rock pandemonium and a tribute to the hyperbolic abilities of Ben, and the aforementioned “NYCD” and “Last Kiss,” both a bit lighter and more genre-specific. “Everybody definitely brings their own influences,” says Aleksi, “but there’s something different happening as a group.”
A love of ‘70s bleeds through, the album pushing everything in a heavy direction. Guitar riffs are biting and tough, keys are chunky and distorted, the rhythms spare but solid – and deep. A riff hearkens to Traffic, Blind Faith or King Crimson, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Robert Cray, yet it is couched in a context that feels new and fresh.
The players, as it is well known locally, are all masters of their craft. Each is in just the right place at the right time on the record, perfectly complementing the rest with a tasty lick and killer tone. Craig Rawding is a rock monster, somewhere between the smoky growl of vintage Gregg Allman and the rare rock scream of Robert Plant or Ian Gillian.
The record is a wash of textures, too. The arrangements are spare, perfectly layered and full of air. Ear candy abounds, and the players don’t rule out any mode of play that may be useful. The result is surprising sounds throughout. Each time the listener settles in on the tonality of a song, a surprising sound pops up. And it’s always the right sound. Yet, the record isn’t layered with endless effects and overdubs, the downfall of the unlimited tracks of Pro Tools.
In fact, with the exception of a few overdubs of shakers and backing vocals, the cuts are live. No overdubs or patches were used to sweeten or fix the performances. In the true spirit of the Dive series, this is essentially a live record, an old-school capture of a great band.
Curtis says the band just set up in the farmhouse on a Friday night with engineer David Westner, “went over the game plan, and just went for it,” recording through Friday night and all day and night on Saturday. “The arrangements just happened in the studio.” He says they “just put it all on the table” to see “what they came up with.” Band members left with a rough mix on Sunday and the final mixing occurred later.
And this is the gift of Arsenault’s Thursday night series, a local Fillmore or Minton’s, with lots of time and no pressure. Week after week, Arsenault called on friends to come out and make music. After the untimely death of Scott Ricciuti in April 2012, Arsenault had to look harder. The fortunate outcome of a horrible tragedy was a web of musicians that grew exponentially, drawing players from throughout Southern New England, eventually settling into several discrete bands.
The Curtis Mayflower began this way, too. As Aleksi and Curtis explain, they were merely invited down to the Dive, as friends of friends (Aleksi from Western Mass. as a friend of Milgate, and Curtis from Boston). No one was picked from a classified ad (“Singer seeking proto-metal outfit for steady gigs. No amateurs need apply!”) In fact, there was no immediate game plan, except to jam and see what happened. “It was really like, after several of these Thursday nights, there was a lot of cool experimental stuff happening,” says Aleksi. “We wandered into the sound.”
All the songs came out of spontaneous experiments, including vocals. “Craig plays an instrument with his voice,” says Aleksi, “coming up with lyrics out of nowhere.”
And from chaos, comes order. Band members shared the weekly recordings, culling ideas that showed potential for songs, and adding them to a permanent repertoire.
“Due to the nature of the musicians,” says Curtis, “it’s hard not to recognize a theme and say, ‘someone ought to make a song out of this.’” Still, the band likes to keep it loose and hang out on the edge, where the good stuff happens. At a recent show at Atwood’s Tavern, in Cambridge, Curtis says, the band stepped up to begin the second set, when Aleksi said, “try this,” and the band simply stepped into unknown territory before a live audience. Their recent recording, the soundtrack to the film, “American Mongrel,” too, is extemporized. Curtis and Aleksi both say that the music is “easy.” Curtis adding that “it created itself.”
“Organic is the best way to describe it,” he says. “We recognized that we shared a like for a certain kind of music or jams that were happening with each other.”
Curtis says that no discussions ever took place to steer or define the band. They all felt that would be counterproductive and could only limit their “view and scope of what’s possible.” That, he says, “wasn’t on any of our agendas.”
The band has no intention of letting the record stunt any further growth or to impose any restrictions on further projects, either. “The next record might be all acoustic,” says Curtis. “With accordion and a bass.” And while the band has applied for some 2014 festivals, Curtis says they plan to let things develop – how else – organically.
“We want to let the product do the talking. We want to let people absorb [the record], and see what the reactions are.” He says he’d like to see the band play once or twice a month and, perhaps, do the soundtrack to another movie.
The greatest accomplishment here goes well beyond the notes and the sound. The band has found community in a time when community is hard to find. And they have picked up, from the ashes of the 20th century music industry, opportunities, where others have found dead ends. They are reinventing how music can be made, how bands can exist and thrive, and this is the true gift of this band, well beyond the excellence of the music itself.
The Curtis Mayflower plans to host a CD release party early in 2014 either in Cambridge or Worcester. - Worcester Magazine

"Preview | The Curtis Mayflower – Everything Beautiful is Under Attack"

The good news is that The Curtis Mayflower are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming, Kickstarter-funded, debut album Everything Beautiful is Under Attack. The great news is that the fundraising goal has been met. The even better news is that these hard working musicians will now have the ability to get the music they created heard by countless new fans. How do I know these people will automatically become fans you ask? Well it’s quite simple, I’ve listened to the album and it is something special.

Earlier this year Pete Aleksi (guitar), Duncan Arsenault (drums), Jeremy Moses Curtis (bass), Brooks Milgate (keys), and Craig Rawding (vocals) set up a studio in a farmhouse located in Lamoine, Maine and recorded 11 songs live using analog gear. Bands do this all the time right? Well, these guys decided they would record the very first take of each song! That’s bona fide confidence in your band mates and sound engineer. It’s also lot of pressure to put on yourself as a musician, and this group took that challenge to heart. Everything Beautiful is Under Attack is the sound of five individually talented artists combining together to form a massive blues-rock Voltron.

There is one standout track after another on the forthcoming album and one of the many highlights is the song, “Clockwork Hearts,” which you can listen to above to prepare yourself for the other 10 tracks that will be hitting you soon. So stay tuned to hear more about The Curtis Mayflower right here on Music Savage, and be sure to tell all your friends you heard your new favorite band here first.

Want to help out in the last few days of the fundraising project and get yourself a nice thank you gift of music? Of course you do, so head to their Kickstater page now.
- Music Savage

"The end is the beginning:The Curtis Mayflower sets sail as Dive Bar Music Series concludes"

This end is a beginning; The Curtis Mayflower sets sail as Dive Bar Music Series concludes
Written by Brian Goslow

There were times at the Dive Bar last Thursday night when you could close your eyes and imagine you had transcended back in time and dropped into the audience at Cream’s farewell show at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1968 or a London nightclub where Jimi Hendrix and friends were jamming on the Beatles recording that came out earlier that day.

Musicians have channeled music from the past since the first instrument changed hands and phonograph records brought the sound of jazz and the blues around the world at the start of the 20th century. But few have taken on as many genres, and done so expertly, as the musicians who performed during the Dive Bar Thursday Night Music Series over the past six years.


Many in the crowd have the experience of being onstage with the band — because they are, everyone’s beers dangerously close to all the amps and sound equipment. As trombonist Jeff Galindo waits to add his magic to the mix, the close-knit quarters suggests he could decapitate one of the audience members with one wrong move. “I’ve learned how to keep my eyes open for people,” he said outside, sneaking a break on the bar’s outside patio during an extended jam.

The crowd gets louder as the group’s music effortlessly switches genres song by song — from deep southern blues to southern rock, Chicago blues fusing into British blues, morphing into the sound Deep Purple made during their early ’70s heyday, all before they break into an extended funk and soul session that includes snippets of War’s “Me and Baby Brother” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” during which frontman Craig Rawding accents the line, “Different strokes for different folks,” as he whips the crowd into a frenzy.

Rawding’s vocals rose over it all. “It was a chance to be less structured and sing songs I don’t normally do or try out new lyrics over grooves that were being laid down by the band,” says Rawding, who normally fronts The Delta Generators and who teamed up with Duncan Arsenault to release “Phantom Train,” an “ambient folk rock duo album” as The Marshall Pass.

The evening’s performance had been made more urgent with the announcement earlier that week that it would be the final Dive Bar Music Series session; the audience seems determined to soak up every possible note before the night’s music comes to an end. The room is packed so tightly it’s impossible for the crowd not to brush against the musicians and their instruments, who are jimmied in as close to the area below the evening’s drink sign as humanly possible; an already vacuum-tight room gets tighter when those amassed in the outside patio area try to get inside.

“When the crowd is insanely tight like that, it can be a bit of a challenge to get comfortable but there’s also the side of it being really cool to have people be able to get close and see what we do up-close and personal,” guitarist Pete Aleksi says. “When a musician is in his element, there is little-to-no holding back of the spirit and it’s really cool to see someone let go musically.”

Through it all, Jeremy Moses Curtis’ bass playing is a vibrant all-cylinders funk attack in the style of P-Funk’s Bootsy Collins to Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler (It doesn’t matter whether Curtis ever listened to a note of Sabbath; Butler got his start as a teen in a blues band and undoubtedly studied many of the same influences). Similarly, Aleksi’s guitar playing shows pure mastery of every style the evening’s set list throws at him, all accompanied by the steady groove laid down by keyboardist Brooks Milgate.


Drummer Duncan Arsenault, who started the weekly jam sessions in August 2007, for the night, and all but three of the 300 or so that preceded it, laid down the beat. “They never had music here before,” he said of the series’ creation. “It was started due to my relationship with (owner) Alec Lopez and his philosophical ideas for his bar.”

On his Facebook page announcing the end of the series, Arsenault stated, when he fi rst pitched the idea, “I promised that if I could not put together the best group of musicians I could find that I wouldn’t play.” Initially, the Thursday nights just featured Arsenault and two other performers, usually keyboardist Steve Mossberg or late guitarist Scott Ricciuti, either together or with a special guest.

“We were really just doing duos,” Arsenault said prior to last Thursday’s finale. “Then it got out of hand with horns and big band sections.” Depending on the night, and who was in town, that included local musicians returning from a stint on the road with a national traveling act or an out-oftown musician dropping in for the evening.


While certain musicians settled in for extended periods of time, the night was never advertised as featuring an actual band. “There - Worcester Magazine

"The Curtis Mayflower - "Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack""

I hesitate to use “seventies” anywhere in this review because I am finding that readers have forgotten how to or never learned how to read. When they see such a keyword, they either zone out or stop reading, much as I do whenever I read the word “disco”, unless it relates to ridding the world of it. The thing is, I don't know how to write about The Curtis Mayflower without seventies references because 1972 and 1973 were magical years for music and these guys bring so much of the best of that period that a look back is pertinent if not crucial. Somehow, the Mayflower has latched onto the essence of what was happening then, channeling the likes of the lesser known but outstanding bands of the times--- Cat Mother and Eric Quincy Tate and Wilderness Road and The Damnation of Adam Blessing and Randall's Island so many others which are still the cornerstones of my record collection. Don't let the obscurity of those names throw you. They definitely brought their musical A-game. Sure, I had albums by Zeppelin and The Who and every other future superstar band there was, but they wore themselves thin compared to the albums by the bands mentioned above, possibly because I didn't have to hear them every day, ad infinitum. If you'd not really sat down and listened to (or danced to) the three Damnation albums, you had not lived, in my estimation.

Which is what I feel about Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack. Roots? The Mayflower's roots are China-deep, mostly blues but with heavy doses of psych, jazz, rock and gospel. Music to feed the denizens of The Avalon and The Fillmore back in the day. Music to attract fans of The Band and Ollabelle. Music to keep blues fans happy but not so much that those not enamored with the genre will turn away. Music which never really went away but faded into the background of the various fads only to be resurrected by bands of quality like The Mayflower.

So who are The Curtis Mayflower? I first heard of them through No Small Children, a trio of lady musicians I watched grow from an ember into a blazing fire (check out their music here). Their mention was nothing more than a nod to the band but it was a nod I was afraid not to follow and I discovered a live album at the end of that rainbow titled Live From the Dive which showed promise enough to make me want to hear more. The cuts were rough, the sound filtered through a handheld, but there was no doubting the music. These guys can play!

And, man, do they show it on Everything Beautiful! They set the hook with the spacey and ethereal Paraselene, sounding so much like a personal favorite band from awhile ago, Oami, that I am sure that's who I would have thought they were had I not known they were not. I was so taken by it that I looped it for awhile just to be sure and, yes, I am sure, but damn! They must have recorded on the same inner planet. Next, Clockwork Hearts made Paraselene scoot over and a pattern emerged. A two-layered approach this time, spacey keyboards and rockin' guitar hook working on opposite ends toward one another with just enough dissonance to draw you in. From there, it was a simple matter of listening. Crawl No More rocks straight and true. Motown meets gospel in Last Kiss, with chunks of Stax mixed in. White boys channeling R&B. When it's good it's great and this is good if not great. Punchline could have been off of any Ollabelle album had The Mayflower not nailed it down first. Light shuffle beat with Casper the Ghost-type choir with swing twist and the line “I'm the punchline to the joke.” Good stuff. Carry Your Burden Home allows the band to let loose a little, a blues phrase the base of a rocker with punchy rhythm guitar, organ-as-bedrock and enough lead guitar licks to float a boat. Tasty. Back to soul/blues with 7 Children, a soulful blues ballad with bridges that explode out of the middle at just the right moments. I hear a bit of Linn County in the structure, for those who remember that Bay Area band. A bit of Curtis Salgado in the vocals, as well. A little kickass rock 'n' roll wakes you up on Ben the Destroyer, pounding home the message that “Ben is the boss!” Upbeat and killer! God, but I wish I could remember who Cold and Dark reminds me of, but maybe it is more than one artist/band. Jazzy with Booker T organ. I love it. And the arrangement is excellent! Straight blues laces NYCD's shoes, chooglin' blues. Damn good blues. And then there is the capper, The Devil Wants To Get Paid, a very The Band-sounding roots-rocker with power organ and The Band harmonies. Great way to exit the album.

Now, about the seventies. It isn't retro, my friends. It is just plain good music. Most of what came out of the period is straight ahead rock with various leanings. That's what The Mayflower gives to you on this album--- in spades. The band has a cohesion which mirrors the best bands of that era and a lineup which has produced great music fr -


Fourth Wall (single)

Released October 2014

King of the Fools (single)

Released August 2014 on vinyl/cd/download

Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack

Released January 2014 on vinyl/cd/download



The Curtis Mayflower is Pete Aleksi, Duncan Arsenault, Jeremy Moses Curtis, Brooks Milgate and Craig Rawding. Five musicians creating a sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. Formed in 2013, they have quickly amassed a large body of work and a larger audience for it. Their debut album was preceded by their self released EP “Live At The Dive” and showcased the band’s ability to write powerful music on the spot. The critically acclaimed debut “Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack” was released in January of 2014 and was followed up with the new singles “King of the Fools” and “Fourth Wall”  later that year. The band is currently touring and releasing new music.

Band Members