SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Gospel-influenced psychedelic soul singer/songwriter Curtis Harding brings his current tour to San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall on Thursday night.
Drawn to music by his gospel singer mother, Harding occasionally sang at his church performances as a teenager growing up in Atlanta, but eventually turned to secular music. He joined hip-hop group Proseed in the early 2000s, which brought him into the orbit of Goodie Mob member and solo artist CeeLo Green. Harding joined Green’s touring band as a backing vocalist and would later contribute to recordings, even co-writing the song “Grand Canyon.”
After spending some time in Toronto searching for new musical inspiration which led to him buying a guitar and writing his first batch of songs, Harding returned to Atlanta and founded garage punk/soul band Night Suns. with Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander. A single the band recorded for Burger Records led to a solo deal for Harding, who released his debut album soul power for the label in 2014.
Filled with infectious retro R&B tunes that occasionally reminded Curtis Mayfield, the album still managed to blend guitar fuzz and stomping glam that nodded to David Bowie and T. Rex. The singer and his band gained welcome exposure opening for Jack White on a string of sold-out dates that summer.
Although it was some time before he released a follow-up effort, Harding’s second release Face your fears was finally released via Anti-Records in 2017. Collaborating with Danger Mouse in his 30th century studio in New York, the album takes away some of the rawness of Harding’s early days in exchange for a lush, more heavily orchestrated approach that must a debt to the psychedelic soul sound that Isaac Hayes cultivated on his early albums.
Harding’s latest effort for Anti-title If words were flowers came out last year and continues in the same vein, channeling some of the heartbreak and disappointment of pandemic life and social unrest in 2020 into the melancholy soul of the title track and strident anthem of protest.” hopefully”. Harding performs new songs and more when he take the stage at the Great American Music Hall Thursday night. Los Angeles-based opening band Joshy Soul plays Prince-inspired minimalist funk reminiscent of the classic Minneapolis sound of the 80s.
Thursday, May 12, 7 p.m. $20
Great American Music Hall