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Currys win songwriting award, to perform at Will McLean fest

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com
The Star

As far as Port St. Joe is concerned, The Currys have long been something of an award-winning group, native (or sort of native) sons who blended superb harmonies and musicianship.

The wider world is taking significant notice.

One of The Currys most popular songs performed live their last time in Port St. Joe, “My Gulf Coast Home,” has won the 2020 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest.

The trio will also perform on the opening night of next month’s Will McLean Music Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Brooksville; the festival is named after the late Will McLean, considered the Father of Florida Folk and the first folk artist inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

The Currys include brothers Tommy and Jimmy along with cousin Galen, who have been singing and performing together for years, first at family reunions out on Cape San Blas and now around the world; they have a significant following, for example, in Ireland.

“We come from a family of singers and music-appreciators, so on family vacations we would sit around with an old tape recorder and make up parts and sing along,” said Tommy.

“We just grew up singing together.”

That “My Gulf Coast Home” would win the 2020 Will McLean award seems appropriate given the events surrounding Hurricane Michael.

During local performances just before Michael, the song, not yet published on disc, spurred a range of emotions, from joy to a few tears.

The song is about lost love, but more a song about love of home, their “Gulf Coast Home.”

After the hurricane, the band offered free advance downloads of the song in exchange for donations to disaster relief and raised nearly $8,000.

“It’s crazy when it happens to a place that you know,” said Galen. “We were right there before the hurricane hit.”

After the storm smashed the coast, The Currys had some shows to perform in Virginia but then cancelled a series of concerts to return to the community.

“We played some free shows in the area just to help bring the community back together because everyone is dealing with so much stress and loss after the hurricane,” Galen continued.

“It was kind of nice to have everyone back in one place … and everyone came out of the woodwork. It felt so different there because all of the landmarks were changed and so many trees were down that driving around you didn’t know quite where you were.”

Tommy added, “We just wanted to get down there and play for a week and be there for people in the evening to blow off some steam and drink a beer, enjoy some music, to complain to each other, to talk to each other.”

The Currys are currently performing throughout the Southeast behind their third CD, “This Side of the Glass.”

The disc includes “Gulf Coast Home.”

The 31st Will McLean Music Festival will be held March 13– 15.

The festival features three covered stages, a variety of workshops, a youth program, activities for children, food as well as arts and crafts. The three-day event features some of the best Florida singer-songwriters in the state.

In addition to The Currys, the lineup on Friday will feature another popular trio- 2PM, Mindy Simmons, Brian Smalley and Grant Peeples.

Saturday’s includes Kathryn Belle-Long and Mickey Abraham from Belle & the Band, the Florida Troubadours including Jim Carrick, Larry Mangum, Charley Simmons and Bob Patterson. Other headliners Saturday are Amy Carol Webb, Passerine and Rod MacDonald.

This year’s festival will also include a special announcement by the Will McLean Foundation about the first two young scholarship winners for music and production.

Go to willmclean.com for more information about the full weekend schedule as well as directions and nearby hotel suggestions.