FARGO — When Kid Rock takes the stage Saturday night at the Fargodome, he’ll do so with the help of a familiar face.
Fargo native Shannon Curfman, who plays guitar in Rock’s backing group, the Twisted Brown Truckers, has been traveling with his tour since 2010.
We caught up with the 27-year-old last week as she was gearing up to embark on Kid Rock’s fourth annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise, a five-day excursion into “Redneck Paradise,” according to the event’s website.
“It’s pretty cool,” Curfman said before setting sail from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “We go to the Caribbean and go play a big show on a beach, and are gone for five days. It’s a nice little way to go do a gig.”
Curfman has come a long way since her very first concert two decades ago — a Fargo Public Schools talent show performance when she was only 7.
Just five years later, she was fronting the Shannon Curfman Band, which first was based out of Fargo, then Minneapolis, where her parents thought she’d be better suited to focus on her career.
She played concerts all over the country and headlined local events, like Fargo’s Blues Festival in 2000.
At 14, she released her first album, “Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions.” Her third album, “What You’re Getting Into,” was released in 2010.
Steve Stine, a Fargo guitar teacher who gave Curfman lessons when she was just starting with the instrument, says he remembers his student as someone who learned skills quickly and easily.
“That’s the big thing I remember about her — she picked up on things so quickly,” he says. “She was so excited about practicing and about learning.”
Stine has stayed in contact with Curfman throughout her career, and says he’s been impressed by how she’s handled the pressure of being a young, successful artist.
“She’s definitely kept her head, which has been really nice,” he says.
Curfman, too, feels she was never overwhelmed by the pressure of being a touring musical artist, probably because she’s been doing it since she was young.
“None of the attention or anything had ever hit me as weird,” she says. “I think because I’ve been doing it pretty much my whole life.”
Yet, she admits that she can’t imagine her own 5-year-old daughter starting out on a similar musical career in a couple of years.
“Thinking of her starting to perform in two years and have a record deal and things a few years from now doesn’t make sense for me at all,” she says. “That gives me sort of a different perspective in hindsight.”
‘A neat thing to be involved in’
After joining the Twisted Brown Truckers a few years ago, Curfman has become a mainstay of the show, even taking on Sheryl Crow’s role with Rock on the duet “Picture.”
Curfman, who played with Rock at 2010’s WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minn., says joining the tour and becoming “someone else’s employee” took a little getting used to at first, but she’s come to enjoy her role.
“It’s been pretty relieving in a lot of ways,” she says. “It’s nice to have a break where I’m not worrying about every single facet of the show or the business.”
What’s impressed her the most about playing with Rock, she says, is how easily he transitions between so many different genres at his concerts.
“There are not many people — no one that I can think of — that can actually run the gamut that he does, and do such a broad array of music,” she says.
“It’s seamless, it’s pretty impeccable, as far as how everything transitions.”
At this weekend’s show, Curfman says fans can expect to hear some of the early Rock hits, like “Bawitdaba” and “Cowboy,” as well as some of his more recent stuff, like “All Summer Long.”
“We still do those classic Kid Rock songs, but his music has definitely changed a lot,” she says.
Curfman is particularly excited about the Fargo show with Bob Seger, one of only two currently scheduled concerts that Rock and Seger are playing together.
As Curfman sees it, the partnership only makes sense — both artists grew up in Detroit, for starters.
“Kid’s biggest influence growing up was Bob Seger,” she says. “I think their music is really similar.”
At this weekend’s show, Curfman hinted at possible collaboration between Rock and Seger that audiences might not expect.
“There might be some surprises in things that we do together — with the two artists, things that you would never think Bob Seger would do either,” she says.
In the next few months, Curfman has plans to return some focus to her own music and start work on a new album. She also hopes to return to Fargo for another concert in the next couple of months.
But for now, she’s enjoying being a part of the tour and something bigger than herself.
“It’s a pretty neat thing to be involved in,” she says.
If you go
Kid Rock and Bob Seger perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16 in the Fargodome, 1800 North University Drive, Fargo.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; tickets range from $43.50 to $83.50, and are available at www.inforumtix.com or by calling 855-694-6367.
Article written by Sam Benshoof of the Forum News Service