Brian Charles Tischleder’s website describes his music as “Americana folk rock’n roll in the tradition Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen.” Pretty tall talk but the shoe happens to fit, so, there’s no point in an artist of his ability indulging false modesty. Just to back it up, though, between working as half of James Curry with guitarist-vocalist Casey Fearing and having struck out on his own, there’s been no difficulty building and keeping a loyal following.
James Curry recorded a pair of splendid, well received discs, Brand New Suit and 13, delivering a raw, rustic aesthetic. Tischleder followed in the same vein with Bordertown. Over his career, the guy has played some fairly prestigious houses, including First Avenue, Fine Line Music Cafe and O’Gara’s. And, to this day, on the strength of James Curry venturing to Europe, he’s earned international standing.
For somebody so successful, he was refreshingly down to earth when he hunkered down over tea at Pow Wow Grounds in South Minneapolis. Unassuming, open-faced and forthcoming, he answered the one question hardest on my mind. What happened to James Curry? “We haven’t played in quite a few years. Just music and life, kind of like roads. You take a turn. Sometimes you have to take that turn, take that road alone.” He’s open to the prospect of getting back together. So, don’t sound a death knell for the partnership. For the time being, he’s exploring that road.
Tischleder’s new offering, Dreams and Fear (EP-CD) marks an interesting transition. He has, so to speak, polished up his act. The voice is smoother, the music a bit less eccentric. The artistry, make no mistake, is resolutely intact. It’s simply taken a next step. While he’s brought in heavyweight ringers like Walter Chancellor, Jr. on sax and Peter Schimke on keyboards for the recording, he hasn’t yet made his mind up about what kind of presentation he wants to put out on-stage.
“I haven’t played any of the new stuff in front of an audience,” he said. “Haven’t decided whether to get some band gigs and showcase them in the format. Or stick to the straight acoustic.”
A couple months later, talking over the telephone, then shooting emails back and forth, he still hadn’t come to a concrete conclusion about that. He did sound, though, like something is in the works, including a guest appearance on Soapbox (Minneapolis Television Network).
“I have several gigs and upcoming recording session in the works,” he said. “Keep an eye on [the website] for latest news and reviews. I will also be posting some new songs that are in the demo format. Heartfelt thanks to everyone that has supported my musical journey. Winding through the valleys and climbing up the mountains one note at a time.”
Asked how he thinks things have gone to date, James Curry incarnations, going solo, the whole nine, he responds, “I would say satisfaction is a momentary feeling in my life. After writing a good song, or performing a well received gig, I do feel a sense of satisfaction. But this sense of satisfaction does not last.”
The good news about that is listeners can count on Brian Charles Tischleder getting back in harness, coming up with more music.