- Amelia Curran at the 35th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 13-15 at Jericho Beach Park. For lineup, schedule and tickets, visit thefestival.bc.ca.
WHEN PENNING NEW SONGS, AMELIA CURRAN FIRST STARTS WITH A MOOD.
"Often a bad mood," she laughs.
"I find it hard to tell where exactly the inspiration comes from because I'm afraid of jinxing some kind of flakey artistic mystery thing, I don't know. I just feel lucky that they show up at all a lot of the time," she adds.
The thoughtful Atlantic Canadian singer/ songwriter, who's poetic approach has been compared to Leonard Cohen, has just finished recording her new album. It's a follow to her 2009 release Hunter, Hunter, which received a 2010 Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year (Solo) as well as four East Coast Music Award nominations. Hunter, Hunter also received a 2010 Polaris Music Prize long list nod.
Her new work, dubbed Spectators, is set for release Oct. 2 and for Curran, the hard part is over.
"I look forward to getting it out," she says. "It's nerve-wracking to be making the record but that happens such a distance before it actually comes out. This is actually the really exciting part for me. My specific job is done, the writing and singing is done, and now I can just throw my opinion around and get really excited and try and figure out what it's all about."
Curran decided to take a different approach on Spectators in an effort to create a bigger sound in terms of instrumentation.
"I think they're easily recognized as my songs but a different treatment of them in some ways," she says. "I don't want to give you the impression that it's a total departure, it isn't at all. I got really into minimalism the past couple records and I've sort of let that go a bit for this one."
"I threw everything at John Critchley, who's the producer, who just kind of went to town," she adds.
This is Curran's first time working with Critchley (Elliott Brood, Dan Mangan) and she recorded Spectators in two parts - in her native St. John's, N.L., and Toronto, Ont.
When it comes to an overall theme on the record, Curran's thoughts are still percolating.
"It's still so brand new," she says. "I'm just sort of listening to mixes and bits and pieces and tying things together. There's certainly a theme in groups of songs. I've been surprised before when I went for a certain theme and then I just turned out to be really mistaken so I think I'm just kind of waiting until we're more finished to see what it says as a complete piece."
Curran has been releasing albums since 2000's Barricade.
"It's been a long time but not that I'd consider myself alumni of any sort but I've certainly been around long enough to see a number of changes in the music industry," she says. "And I can pretend to be older than I am and say, 'Oh, it's not like it used to be back in my day' and things like that. I made my first album when lots of people were making their first independent albums because it was suddenly easy to do and now it's easy to do so much more than just make an album, which I think is amazing and excellent. Music has changed so much faster than the years I've had in it. I can be mistaken and feel quite a bit older than I really am."
Curran has recently returned to St. John's, after living in Halifax, N.S. for 12 years.
"I always planned on coming home and I'm glad I finally have," she says.
She's grateful to be part of the Atlantic Canadian music scene.
"The East Coast music industry, while mainly the ECMA, the East Coast Music Association, we're so ingrained with it, and you run the risk of taking it for granted," she says. "Once you travel more you realize that not every community has something like that."
Having just wrapped a tour in the United Kingdom, Curran is scheduled to perform in Vancouver this weekend as part of the 35th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, opening today and running through Sunday at Vancouver's Jericho Beach Park. Curran is scheduled to perform a solo set Saturday, at 4: 10 p.m. on Stage 3 and at three workshops: Avant Bards, featuring Veda Hille, Royal Wood, Andy White and Serena Ryder, Saturday at 10 a.m., on Stage 3; The Story Behind the Song, featuring Murray McLauchlan, evalyn parry and Roy Forbes, Sunday at 1: 40 p.m., on Stage 5; and, With Glowing Hearts, featuring Leela Gilday, The Once, Colleen Eccleston and Wake Owl, Sunday at 3: 35 p.m., on Stage 3.
Other 2012 folk festival artists include Ani DiFranco, Dan Mangan, Hey Rosetta!, K'Naan, Lucinda Williams, The Head and the Heart and The Cave Singers.
For more information, visit thefestival.bc.ca.
For more on the folk festival see page 16.