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Spectator sport 

Amelia Curran’s latest album, Spectators, straddles fear and love with her trademark resolve.

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"They are things I believe in, things I am afraid of, things I want desperately to explain to others. Things I am suspicious that may revolve around the absolute meaning of life," says Amelia Curran. "Things that I am so very certain tie us together in the human condition, and if we could only understand, we would be compassionate instead of afraid."

Since leaving Halifax and returning home to St. John's, Curran has traipsed around the globe, won a Juno Award and spent time with her inner onlooker. Spectators sheds light on longing, compassion and the test of time. Soaked in confessional melancholy, and dried off with horn and string arrangements soaring with emotional reprieve, this is Curran's masterpiece. It's quietly confident, persuasive and deeply soulful.

Where Curran struggles with herself, and the writing process, it never shows in her performances or records. She has an inner wisdom within her songs that extends beyond her years. "I fought with the songwriting, same as I always do, but that battle gets longer and longer," she says. "I laid the foundation for the record in St. John's, with my familiars, and later needed the more unfamiliar to complete the piece---to step aside and let what wanted to fall into place accomplish just that. It's like barely being there, at times, and fighting to be released somehow."

Curran recorded in Toronto with John Critchley, where she learned to let go and trust in the creative process. In songs like "The Modern Man", "In A Town (200 Days)," "Strangers" and "Face on the News," Curran toys with paradox and tension, the lyrical and literal, poetry and introspection.

"I was terrified of making this album. What's obvious is the nervousness that comes from following a successful album with something new," she says. "What is perhaps less obvious are the nerves, the worry of alienating people. When a person truly believes in what you've done, really identifies with a song or songs, there is pressure there to never abandon them."

Amelia Curran w/Gabrielle Papillon, Thursday, October 25 at Spatz Theatre, 1855 Trollope Street, 8pm, $25


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