One of a number of artists heading to Kerry for the Valentia Isle Festival this weekend, Juno award winning singer songwriter Amelia Curran is combining her trip with a number of Irish dates. State asked her the questions, she provided the answers.
Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Amelia Curran. I’m a singer-songwriter from St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador (the Atlantic provinces of Canada).
Who are your favourite artists from your hometown?
There are so many great artists from St. John’s – my long time favourites would be Sean Panting and Ron Hynes.
What’s it really like touring?
Touring can be quite repetitive. In the one sense you’re getting to travel the world, only without really getting to see much. In another, it’s a very singular and sustainable way to live and I enjoy the minimalism of it.
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
Other than the Ship Pub in my own hometown – impossible to say. There are legendary venues that stick out, like the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, and scores more places of note that I am only just getting to know. I can say that I’ve loved being in Glasgow in Scotland, and the smaller places of England, like Norwich. I’ve been through the north and south of Ireland to a more limited degree – I can say with certainty that smaller communities usually find a place close to my heart.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
1980’s Billy Bragg and 1970’s Randy Newman. 1960’s Bob Dylan followed by today’s Bob Dylan and 1970’s The Band. Today’s Bruce Springsteen, please. And if the Staples Singers would back up everybody and it would be hosted by Fran Leibowitz.
What has been your biggest achievement of the last year?
It’s been a strange year, and “achievement” may not properly fit into it. Finishing the album Spectators – I’m not sure when that will be out over there – that was a challenge and I am proud of crossing the finishing line, even if it was in a wheelbarrow being pushed by a bunch of other people.
What do you do to relax?
I’ve had a nice bit of time off the road this summer and spent most of that fishing in central Newfoundland. There is, however, not much better than kicking your shoes off after a long night and having that one silent drink by yourself.
What are you reading?
I’ve just started Chris Cleave’s latest novel Gold and just finished Mark Haddon’s latest The Red House.
How about TV, anything good on the box?
There’s not much good on television, but I confess I love it. I’ve never wanted television to challenge me – there are other things for that – I adore the tube for its foolishness, and I’ll watch pretty much anything.
Who would you most like to collaborate with if you got the chance?
I’m a terrible collaborator. I vie so much for the privacy that writing awards you. If I had to choose I’d say Billy Bragg.
What is the worst cover your band has ever performed?
There was a brief period of time several years ago that I was a member of a cover band. We were five professionals, deciding to get together once a week and play cover songs, at the very least to have something to do with ourselves through the long winter months. We played one show. We were . . . terrible, somehow, but had an excellent time mucking it up. Our prized worst of the worst, in my opinion, was ‘You Won’t See Me’ by the Beatles. All those ooh-la-la’s were just too fun for anyone to stay off of.
Have you ever trashed your equipment? When and why?
Once I smashed a mandolin, but it was broken anyway, and it was terribly unsatisfying.
What website do you visit most?
The Daily What is a ravishing waste of time.
What is your favourite…
…album of the last year?
Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball.
….Lost classic song?
‘Handle Me With Care’ by the Travelling Wilbury’s
I’ve a great fondness for Adele.
What should we expect from your Irish shows?
I’ll be touring solo, so you’ll get my guitar and myself, and I’m armed this time with lots of new songs from the album that isn’t out yet.
Amelia Curran plays September 13th The Workmans Club, Dublin; 15th Valentia Isle Festival, Co.Kerry; 19th De Barras, Clonakilty; 20th Blue Zone, Dingle; 21st St. Nicolas’ Church, Galway.