ON THE BACK OF THE ANGEL: Amy Correia doesn’t need a huge budget to make a record. In fact, she doesn’t even need a record company. How can she do it? Well, it’s her own ingenuity mixed with the love of her adoring fans.
Correia has asked fans for donations to make her upcoming record. As of today, she’s received $27,750.00. She offers a variety of levels of contribution: Twenty bucks gets you the CD before anyone else. One-hundred dollars gets you a signed CD and T-shirt. Two-hundred and fifty gets you a T-shirt, signed CD and free shows for a year. Five-hundred dollars means a personalized voice-mail message. An online concert: $1,000. A song written for you: $2,500. For a cool $4,000 she’ll play in your living room. And the lucky fan who chose the $10,000 deal — that person sits in on the recording process, eats dinner with Ms. Correia and receives a snazzy bike, circa 1952 Sears & Roebuck. No joke. Note: She wrote a song called “The Bike” — that her fans know well. And this is the one.
I opted for the $50 package which includes a personalized, signed CD. In fact, she wrote me an e-mail thanking me and asking what I’d like written on it. I wrote back, “Surprise me. Anything you write would be appreciated Ms. Amy Correia.” She jokingly replied, “I dig being called ‘Ms. Amy Correia’ Nice!”
I don’t tell you this to let you in on her personal e-mail. But rather, to show you just how dedicated she is to making music. It’s so world-shatteringly refreshing to see a musician who truly does understand her relationship to her fans.
But what about her music? She is comfortable singing folk, bluesy, uptempo, down. In terms of musical lineage, she is a descendant of Bob Dylan and Tina Schlieske from Tina and the B-Side Movement, with a little Angela McCluskey thrown in. Her lyrics are supremely written. He words are those written by an introspective, wise soul. She breaks your heart, makes you tap your toe, makes you laugh and ultimately — marvel. I fawn willingly. She lays herself out in her music. Foremost, it’s honest.
The new album has been recorded, mastered and now is waiting on the artwork. Correia has kept fans in the loop via her website amycorreia.com, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
So, why doesn’t Correia have a record contract and throngs waiting to hear her sing? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. Sadly, that’s just the way the music business works. But I can tell you this: Her artistry can be mentioned in the same breath as Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Joe Henry, and frankly, anybody else I’ve ever listened to.
I root for her. I root for her in a big way.
Simply put, very few musicians make music of her quality nowadays. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a couple of songs from her new album (as were all fans who went to her website at the right time). I’ve also heard her sing some new songs at NPR’s Mountain Stage back on Dec. 31, 2008. Whatever you do, run out to buy this album. I have a feeling it’s going to be better than her other two albums — and that’s saying a lot. The working title was “Majesty.” Recently, Correia even took suggestions on Facebook, from fans, as to what titles they would suggest. When some responded that they needed to hear some songs first, she promptly added two to her website with a “secret” password for those that wanted a peak. How cool is that?
Okay, I’ve got to kickoff the buzz here. I’ve heard six tracks of the eleven tracks in some version and they are all stellar. I mean it. Not one of the songs is weak. I wish this album had come out already so I could quickly put it up into my list of “21 Best Albums of the Year”. Yes, those six tracks make me think I would have no problem putting it there.
Lyrics from one of her new songs called, “Love Changes Everything”:
“Night after night, passes like a long slow train /I’m uncertain when we might see each other again /I put my heart into this simple refrain / So you could hear me in it, when I sang / Oh, love changes everything / And when darkness spreads out like a flag unfurled/You will hear the trembling of this wild and naked world /Every voice out here is crying to be heard /And you heard, my words …”
Like the lyrics above? Try these from “Oh, Lord”, a song reminiscent of that revival style of Tina & the B-Sides’ “Shine Your Light”:
“Oh lord, the water’s rising / An old ship coming up on the horizon / Captain in the lifeboat smilin’ / While I’m trying to get to heaven / Oh, lord, don’t know which way I’m goin’ / I can’t tell which way this river is flowin’ / Get into the water / Started rowin’ and rowin’ / I’m going home / Oh lord, this way is narrow / I push my trouble in an old wheelbarrow / I get up this hill, light as a sparrow / I felt it in the marrow / I’m bent and I’m broken / I’m ugly and tired / I’m on the back of the angel / My spirit’s riding / I’m going / I’m pushin’ / I’m fightin’ / I’m findin’ / All through the night … I been shinin’ / Oh lord.”
Amy Correia “Oh, Lord”
Amy Correia “Love Changes Everything” (Live, NPR.com)