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Gainesville native Currin playing first hometown show in four years
0219-GO-CURRIN-1
Gainesville native Nate Currin will return to his hometown to deliver a concert Feb. 28 at Mule Camp Tavern in downtown Gainesville. The musician lives in California, but has been touring the country. - photo by For Get Out

Nate Currin

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28

Where: Mule Camp Tavern, 322 Spring St SE, Gainesville

Cost: $10 tickets, $30 for tickets and booth package, $50 for tickets and hightop table package

More info: www.muletickets.com or www.natecurrin.com

Gainesville native Nate Currin loves living and working in California. However, whenever he’s away, he tends to miss the small town that helped shape his music and personality. Currin has visited home a few times in the past four years, but he hasn’t brought any music to the people of Gainesville in a while.

Although he’s played shows in Dahlonega, Atlanta and Athens a couple of times per year, he only came to Gainesville for the history, people and food. Next weekend, however, he’s playing his first hometown show since 2011, and he’s bringing new stories, songs and sounds.

Currin will play two sets, one acoustic and one with a full band, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Mule Camp Tavern on the square.

Currin happened to be in Gainesville during the ice storm, and The Times got a chance to ask him a few questions before he hit the road for some out-of-town shows before his big homecoming.

Question: What brings you back to Gainesville for your first show in a while?

Answer: I lived here for a number of years, then moved away and moved back in the early 2000s to take a job and work here in Gainesville for a couple of years. In 2011, I moved to California and lived in California for a few years and went on the road for a while. In 2010, I signed with a record label out of Atlanta, Archaic Cannon Records, and one of their recommendations was to get out of your hometown for a while and not play here. I kind of limited myself anyway because I was trying to build my audiences in Athens and Atlanta.

For the past year or so, Ronnie from Mule Camp Tavern had been emailing my agent and my label trying to set something up. He really wanted to get me up here and do a big shindig. At first, they were working just with Ronnie, and he came up to me when I was in town one weekend, and he was like ‘Hey, you’re going to be playing a show up here.” It was news to me. I’m happy to be doing it. It’ll be good to be back home. I’m sure some people will come out that I haven’t seen in a long time, or some new people that haven’t even heard of me, or that have heard of me but I’ve never met.

Q: What kind of influence would you say growing up in this area has had on your music?

A: I think diverse would be a good word to describe it. Being in this area, you’re close enough to Atlanta where you’re getting a little of the mainstream, some pop and rock influence, maybe even some hip-hop. You’re in the South, so obviously country is huge. I’ve always been drawn toward the more folksy, Americana, Southern but not country kind of music. I think being here and growing up here made my influences diverse and well-rounded.

Q: What is one of your favorite things about Gainesville?

A: I love Gainesville’s proximity to so many great locations. I love the fact that I can be in Atlanta or in Athens in under an hour, and yet, I can go hike a mountain in 30 to 40 minutes, or be at the lake in 10 minutes. There’s so much diversity. I also love the small-town feel. I seem to forget it when I’m here, but when I leave, I always miss it. Sometimes, it’s annoying, but I miss the fact that I can walk into any place in downtown Gainesville and people are going to yell my name and say hey. Also, I love telling people that I’m from the chicken capital of the world. Oh, and 2 Dog is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.

Q: What is it like for you coming home and playing such an intimate show?

A: It feels like home. What I mean by that is, I’ll go play in cities that aren’t that far from here, like Birmingham, and it was a small decent turnout. I knew a few people, but it still feels distant. It feels removed. Last summer in Raleigh, the place sold out, and people were friendly, but there’s still something about coming home to North Georgia. It’s always nice to come in and see everyone in there looking at you and smiling. It’s like “We didn’t come here just for the music, we came here for you.” We are friends, you’re a son of this area, and we would support you even if your music sucked. That’s what I love about coming back.

Q: What are some of your favorite moments from touring?

A: Even in the last year, I’ve had a chance to play some of the venues I’ve wanted to play since I started. Last summer I played the Hotel Café in Hollywood. It’s one of those iconic places and a venue that I’ve been trying to book for probably six years. It was an amazing night. The place filled up, and that was the highlight for me of the year. Last December, I got to open up a sold-out show for Butch Walker at Center Stage in Atlanta. That’s another one I’ve wanted to play since the early days. I played solo, and then he called me out at the end to do a song with him, and I forgot the words, and that was super embarrassing. I think I laughed about it while I was up there.

For more info or tickets, visit www.muletickets.com. For more about Currin, visit www.natecurrin.com.