There’s a sense of triumph in Amelia Curran’s epic release, They Promised You Mercy (Six Shooter Records). She revels in maturity and grace November 12 at the Rebecca Cohn with a full band, and fierce heart.
“It’s one of the only records I’ve had to make once,” says Curran. “I’ve had to make previous albums two to three times over. This one we got right on the first try, and I think it’s because of the chemistry with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda.”
Known for her Leonard Cohen-esque lyrics, and ability to navigate melancholy, love, and loss with masterful ease, Curran admits They Promised You Mercy is a slight departure. The record opens with the toe-tapping victory song, “Somebody Somewhere,” which swells with instrumentation, even she feels sheepish about the “na-na-na-na” chorus.
“I’ve been a self-described lyrical snob for a long time, and I’ll stand by it,” says Curran. “But sometimes, I can neglect the music to favour the lyrics. There’s a lot more musicality in this. I managed to let go and not take it too damn seriously for a little while.”
Curran’s trademark striking confessional ode, “I Am The Night,” which features one of her best lines—“I am the lover of the way you are,”—strengthens the length of her stride as she climbs a few steps higher in the tower of song. Consider this album Curran’s panoramic view. “Writing is such a constant thing. I was still writing it while we were in the studio. ‘I Am The Night,’ just got in there on the second last recording day,” she says.
While she’s come into her own as a songwriter, Curran has also become a spokesperson to raise awareness for mental health care. After the suicide of 28 year-old Louis Elphage Wynn Jones Bernard, son of Newfoundland artists Andy Jones and Mary-Lynn Bernard, the province was sick with grief. Instead of sugarcoating their son’s death, his obituary in *The Telegram* published it clear: “Passed away by his own hand after a lengthy battle with mental illness.”
Curran knew she had to act. She teamed up with filmmaker Roger Maunder and 70 community members in St. John’s; including members of Great Big Sea, Republic of Doyle star Allan Hawco, writers Lisa Moore and Michael Crummey, comedians Mary Walsh, Mark Critch, and more to make “This Video” (view it at thecoast.ca) “People were tripping over themselves to do something, every single person is affected by mental illness, either personally or through a friend or family member, and we haven’t been talking about it.
“The conversation is getting louder, but there is so much more work to do, and so I wanted to make this video to address certain things that are wrong at home in Newfoundland about the mental health care system.”
Wednesday, November 12 at 8pm
Rebecca Cohn, 6101 University Avenue