Shannon Curfman: surviving teen blues stardom 

Chatting with the still youthful guitarist

Yes, Shannon Curfman was 14 when she was signed to Arista Records and released her album Loud Guitar, Big Suspicions. But that was 10 years ago. It's 2009 and Curfman has moved on. The guitar/singer now lives in Minneapolis, is in her 20s and is in the process of finishing album No. 3.

"We have everything done but a couple vocal and keyboard spots and guest appearances. It won't be too horribly long. The first single should be ready in a few days," Curfman said.

Her last album (2007's Fast Lane Addiction) was more of a rock album while the new album (with the tentative title What You're Getting Into) will lean toward rockin' blues.

"The last album stemmed from an EP I did called Take It Like A Man, which was done in Detroit and was more of a fun rock and roll project. Some of my true blues fans didn't understand those songs. They will be quite pleased with this collection of blues rock," she said.

Curfman said the new album will be a throwback to the rockin' blues sound she, and many others, grew up listening to on the radio.

"I have an altered concept of what is blues music. Led Zeppelin, in my mind, was blues. It was the guitar licks. It didn't matter what chord they were playing, it was blues and that's what I thought when I was 10. Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck all learned how to play blues and interpret it in their own way. A lot of people forget, but at the time, Led Zeppelin was the alternative. At one time, they were considered a musical threat. Not the stuff you hear on classic rock all the time," she said.

Curfman was signed to a major label at a time when white kids playing the blues were a hot commodity, the era of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang (who appeared on Loud Guitars).

"I had a blast with what happened to me and I'm glad I went through it as young as I did. I gained a different perspective on the business," she said.

She made a point to stay out of the spotlight for a few years as a way of gaining her identity.

"I had heated battles with my respective record labels. I learned to stick to my guns and do what's right for me. I'm an independent artist and have my own label and I wouldn't trade it for the world," she said.

Heated battles?

"Both music and image, but music was the No. 1 issue. They wanted more of a pop act. I was told it wasn't necessary for me to write or play guitar. I was also told I could get a trainer, a choreographer and a boob job," she said.

Curfman compared it to a bad romantic relationship.

"They really ruined me for a couple years. I trusted those people. I put my whole life into their hands and everything that they said they loved me for they wanted to change," she said. "It was good to have a couple years to not record for anyone but myself. I was writing songs for some others and myself. I had to get that head back on my shoulders."

Her band will be trying out the new material at the Slippery Noodle show.

"We do a lot of new songs in the show. I have a problem with exchanging all old for all new. That's why my shows will be incredibly long. [Laughs.] I've been there. I've been that person in the audience saying, 'Great show, but they didn't play the one song I really wanted to hear.' The one B-side that's someone's favorite," she said.


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