Strumming the heartstrings

Strumming the heartstrings

One night last year, I was standing backstage at The Gravity Lounge listening to Paul Curreri ( and Devon Sproule ( together on stage. At the end of one of Devon’s songs, the two mingled their guitar sounds so closely and so sweetly that I am sure some modest audience members must have covered their eyes. Curreri and Sproule, who have very distinct sounds seperately, will once again mingle guitars for their annual Valentine’s Day show Wednesday night, and it shouldn’t be missed.

Paul Curreri calls his heartthrob, Devon Sproule, "the prettiest girl in the world." Hear some pretty music at their Valentine’s Day show Wednesday night.

The two do not share a stage that often, and only put on a whole performance together once a year. Besides being great musicians and songwriters, Curreri says, “There’s a great love and respect.  We’re very proud of one another, and proud of our public connection to one another.  That said, we’re both fairly intense while working, so wine is extraordinarily important to keep the nerves in order. In general, though, I think Devon is the prettiest girl in the world.”

Everyone who comes out gets to see a great live show, and will walk home with a custom made CD of music that Curreri and Sproule record every year.


The musical dynamic between partners can be Steve and Eydie, but it can also be Sonny and Cher. I asked several couples in town who manage to collaborate musically: Would you say that your musical relationship is more like Johnny Cash and June Carter, solid and supportive, John Doe and Exene, tumultuous, or Jack and Meg White, let’s keep that personal thing under wraps? 

Jan Smith ( “My musical relationship with Jeff (Vogelgesang) most closely resembles Johnny Cash and June Carter. We support each other and learn from each other, and I think we’re fans of each other’s work. We’ve been playing together for more than seven years (and incidentally just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary by going to the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium). Like June, Jeff is a positive force. His style as a songwriter, singer and instrumentalist and his knowledge of classic country and bluegrass has indelibly affected the way I write, sing harmonies, play guitar and select songs. I can no longer refer to “my” music. It’s our music. Of course, because we both care so much about the music we make and have strong and sometimes differing opinions, practice sessions can get a bit, oh, high-spirited.” Smith and Vogelgesang will be at The Mark Addy Inn in Nellysford on Valentine’s Day evening.

Madeline and Humberto Sales of Beleza Brasil "feel pretty lucky that we are a couple and make music together."

Chris Ruotolo (with Lance Brenner in The Naked Puritans ( and Thrum): “Definitely ‘solid and supportive’. Music is what brought us together—we met when I auditioned for The Naked Puritans—so it’s at the very core of our relationship. But I don’t know about the Johnny and June comparison. How about Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon? It’s cool the way they keep Sonic Youth moving forward, while giving each other space for creative projects on the side.  Or maybe Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo. I have a deep admiration for rock ‘n’ roll couples who keep it together for the long haul. They are good role models!” Thrum’s new CD should be finished by the end of the month.

Madeline and Humberto Sales of Beleza Brasil ( “I guess we’d be more like Johnny Cash and June Carter. We feel pretty lucky that we are a couple and make music together. It has taken us places that we can enjoy together and no one is left home alone on a Friday or Saturday night! As both of us love to travel, we’ve made it a goal to allow Beleza Brasil to get us to some of those destinations. Our next show in Charlottesville is at The X Lounge on February 17th (at 7pm). That is the beginning of Carnival in Brazil, so we’re going to do a cool show in commemoration with Darrell Muller on bass and Robert Jospé on drums.”


Across the tracks at Gravity Lounge the same evening, local duo Scuffletown ( will release their third CD, Another Sundown, a disc inspired by the music of Gordon Lightfoot


Hey, nice portrait of self-destructive valentines Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen on the wooden fence on Avon Street in Belmont. In painting that portrait, you just did more creatively than Sid and Nancy ever did.

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