Guitarist/vocalist Nick Curran nabbed the W.C. Handy Award for best new artist in 2004.

Guitarist/vocalist Nick Curran nabbed the W.C. Handy Award for best new artist in 2004. A veteran of the Texas blues/rockabilly circuit—he has toured with Ronny Dawkins, Kim Lenz and Wayne Hancock—Curran is a slick guitarist and a powerhouse vocalist: a combination of Brian Setzer and Bill Haley, hipster hairdo included. "Player!" is a 14-song jaunt through the jump blues and rockabilly sounds of the '50s, but it's certainly not kitschy. Curran's vibe may be nostalgic, but it's nostalgia with conviction. The album's greatest strength is that it captures Curran's immersion in the jump blues/rockabilly tradition. The tunes reflect his commitment to the authenticity of those styles. Not only is his material well-chosen, but the recording was obviously an old-school analog chore that left most of the electronic toys on standby.—PVV

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