Saturday, February 9, 2013 |
1. Amelia Curran, Scattered and Small
"Amelia is one of my all-time favourite Newfoundland singers. This song is also about being as alive as it is possible to be, no matter how frightening things get. There's mention of horizons and stars in this song, legends and facts. The mix of legend and fact interests me when I write fiction. Amelia's voice is so full of velvety texture; it's caressing and strong at the same time, muscular but vulnerable. There's a surety with the lyrics, always."
I was so alive I can only look back,
Longer than a legend,
Larger than a fact.
I was so afraid I have travelled so far.
2. Joanna Barker, February
"A strong new talent on the local music scene who has just released her first album called February by coincidence. Lots of love and longing and transformation in this album, and a rich, deep voice that feels like it's full of secrets. Joanna Barker has an intensity and intimacy in these songs that makes them compelling."
3. Holly Hogan, Allan Byrne and Michael Crummey, Something Blues
"This was a song performed at folk night in downtown St. John's, recently, and recorded by Glen Tilley of CBC's The Performance Hour. Holly is a childhood friend of mine, and after school I would go to her house and we'd get a snack and head to the living room. The room was mostly used for special occasions, roomy and grand, except we'd sneak in there and Holly would play the piano for me. I'd heave off on the couch and we'd talk, in between songs. I'd just listen to her play for whole afternoons like that, eating crackers and peanut butter, and talking about boys and God and whales and clothes and dogs and boys and movies and diving and horses and boys.
"Holly married the writer Michael Crummey. Michael is such a fantastic writer and a good friend of mine. In fact, I introduced them. So I take full credit for their wonderful marriage. Michael wrote a poem for Holly on the occasion of their wedding, and she and Allan Byrne wrote the music."
4. Bjork, Big Time Sensuality
"There's a line in this song: 'It takes courage to enjoy it, big time sensuality.' I listened to that song over and over while writing February. I still listen to it. Bjork is innovative, willing to try anything, artistically, it seems. There's a tremendous power in her voice and it always surprises me when I see her in videos, how tiny she is. I just imagine this petite, gorgeous woman gathering everything she has inside her and belting it out every time she sings.
"She seems alive to sensuality, she seems to recognize what a gift life is, and she seems unafraid. Those were the qualities I wanted for my main character Helen. Helen is not an artist, like Bjork, but she experiences things that it takes courage to enjoy, or courage to experience and feel. And she stays open to love, as Bjork advocates in this song."
5. Liz Solo, Love Song to the Alien
"Liz has been singing and making theatre, performance art and digital art here in Newfoundland for the last 30 years or so. Like Bjork, she's innovative, willing to try anything, willing to grapple with technology and experiment, willing to belt it out. There's a reaching out in this song, a willingness to trust and love the whole universe, basically, that I find moving -- and it's funny too! It's a love song to an alien, who just might be listening. One lives in hope."
6. Ron Hynes, Atlantic Blue
"I could listen to any song by Ron Hynes 100,000 times, and I probably have. I love the narrative drive in his songs, the tenderness and plain-spoken poetry, alive with feeling and complexity."