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Cursive Wires find their groove

Part rock ’n’ roll, part country, Spokane band has broad appeal

Cursive Wires are known around Spokane for their country-tinged rock ’n’ roll sound.
Cursive Wires are known around Spokane for their country-tinged rock ’n’ roll sound.

When you ask Cursive Wires about their musical influences, they’ll tell you everything from the shambling country rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers to the honky-tonk of the Rolling Stones’ late ’60s output to the sparse Los Angeles punk of X.

Maybe that gives you an idea of where they’re coming from.

Although they have yet to record any of their music, Cursive Wires has become a Spokane barroom staple in the past couple of years. If you see them Friday night in the back half of Mootsy’s, it’ll be the perfect place to acquaint yourself with their special brand of twang.

They’re a local supergroup of sorts: Electric guitarist Brian Young was in the Spokane bands Burns Like Hellfire and the Young Brians, bassist Jonathan Hawkins was a member of rock trio the Dearly Departed, drummer Mike Tschirgi currently plays with Big Mumbo Blues Band, pedal steel player Jamie Frost is a part of the country band Silver Treason and Northwest glam rock legends the Makers, and acoustic guitarist Sam Foley is an established singer-songwriter.

This particular five-piece, no stranger to the Spokane scene, has been playing together for about two years now. But Young, who writes most of the band’s original songs with Foley, said they’re just now hitting their stride as a group.

“We’re just five guys who really found each other, who love to play this music and have been doing it a long time,” Young said. “We all really love being in a band with one another because we can all communicate and speak the same language.”

That’s apparent in the music of Cursive Wires, which has the worn-in charm of a tavern band that’s played the same setlist every night for the past 20 years. But their country inflections don’t necessarily mean they’re a niche act: They recently opened for folksy Americana artist Pokey LaFarge at the Bing and Celtic rockers the Young Dubliners at the Knitting Factory, two headliners who couldn’t be more dissimilar.

“We definitely get pushed into the country genre,” Young said, “just because of the sounds we make and the instruments we use. There’s country flavor there – we couldn’t get away from that if we tried – but it’s a rock and roll band for sure.”

Having played their share of large and small venues, the band is now planning to get into the recording studio, with a possible show or two outside of Spokane (though not too far outside).

“We’ve been talking about establishing an Inland Northwest circuit,” Young said. “We’ve all been in bands that have done the touring thing and have been in a little van all around the country. I think we’d be just fine if we kept those to two- or three-day stretches.”

That kind of simplicity seems to encapsulate Cursive Wires: After cutting their teeth in the indie scene, now they’re playing the kind of music they sincerely want to play. That they’ve found an audience that digs their sound is an added bonus.

“We’re kind of doing it for ourselves,” Young said. “None of us really needs to impress anybody. We don’t need to be rock stars. We just want to do what’s most honest.”

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