Emily Kurn
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Emily Kurn

Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Anchorage, Alaska, United States
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
21
Emily Kurn @ WOW Hall

Eugene, Oregon, USA

Eugene, Oregon, USA

Dec
20
Emily Kurn @ The Aladdin Theater

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

Nov
14
Emily Kurn @ House Concert

Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Anchorage, Alaska, USA

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Music

Press


..it is doubtful you can quite understand how enchanting Emily's music is until you see her on onstage.

- Tom Wortman, Anchorage Daily News - Anchorage Daily News


Emily Kurn has the weary drawl of Rickie Lee Jones, the sweet sass and spice of Christine Lavin, and Suzanne Vega's gift for poetry, assets that she demonstrates to best advantage on the eight tracks of The Doorman.

Kurn accompanies herself on acoustic guitar with the exception of "Other Places to Go," where only her electric guitar hypnotically underscores the story of a girl who takes the long way 'round trying to find out where she wants to go. On the other tracks, Nina Gerber (lead guitar, electric guitar), Keith Allan (dobro), Kota Blue (mandolin, drums), Mike Lufkin (bass) and Kendrick Freeman (drums) provide tight backup that highlights Kurn's warm and expressive voice.

The poetry of the songs is striking and original; the lyrics exhibit emotions and desires that are common to all but expressed in new and unexpected images. The melodies are mostly deceptively laid back and simple. Such a song is "Lullaby," in which the melody ripples and glides around lyrics telling how the narrator doesn't want to miss out on the world around her. It's followed by the upbeat "Records (Of Where We Are)," which advocates keeping things simple and letting life happen. "I Am the Sun" brings the CD to a jazzy jaunty end; it's reminiscent of some of Paul Simon's songs.

In spite of the recording artists mentioned above, Kurn has her own distinctive sound. The Doorman is a remarkable and varied collection of life- and love-affirming songs from a refreshingly original singer-songwriter.

- Rambles Magazine


Four albums into her young career, Kurn is one of the exciting voices of folk music. Her idiosyncratic Iris Dement-like voice combined with a simple "around the table conversation" style of songwriting brings an edge that is frequently lacking with much modern folk. Kurn's stories revolve around the kinds of events we all experience everyday. Her writing frequently results in an, "oh, yeah, that is exactly how I feel at that moment," experience by the listener. When the first song starts it is clear Emily Kurn is on to something special. -- Jeff Weiss.
- MILES OF MUSIC Review, July 2007


While the year 2000 release of the soundtrack for the Cohen brothers' film, Oh Brother Where Art thou, didn't necessarily revive bluegrass, which has stood as one of the most enduring genres for over fifty years, it did present the wonderful intricacies of the form to a wealth of new listeners. Since then, many of these new listeners have dug progressively farther to the roots of bluegrass to find such talents as Flatt & Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs, but Emily Kurn proves with White Bird that contemporary bluegrass is alive and kicking, and certainly worth notice. While hardcore fans will argue that, with its fusion of folk and Americana, this is progressive, rather than traditional, bluegrass, what's undeniable is that this is good music. As the backing band lays down a solid mix of guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and spoons, Kurn delivers in a wiser voice. With a complete lack of pretense her songs are stories of the caliber that made her 2002 debut The Doorman such a hit. With the same poetic flair for lyrics, she shows clear thinking even in the banal, as in "Now I Know," where she tells us "I believe love will never leave, once you fall it's all you'll ever know." Lyrically, the album's highlight is "Still Life," where she argues the differences between the art of man and the art of nature via lyrics like "Let me take you to a forest room/With frames around the trees/We'll studies Vincent's brushstrokes/In the veins beneath the leaves." While there is a thin line between preaching and belief, especially when covering such topics as this, Kurn walks steadily on the side of belief, and brings the song to an end with a soft chuckle around the line, "Fuck this art, I'm taking you outside."

-Shane Bartlett

- Northeast Performer Magazine


... It's rare to find a CD that's listenable, let alone actually good, from a seminar attendee. Your CD is actually magical and charming, well written and
thoughtfully performed. You have a personal style that is easy to listen to, funny, smart. I really enjoy playing "Things Change" for my friends and clients to show what is possible. You have great talent and I look forward to hearing future projects....you have your finger on the pulse of your muse.... - Rick Beresford, Nashville Song Coach


23 year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist Emily Kurn is a young, poetic woman with an ancient soul. Her profound thoughts and lyrics defy her tender years. She has seemingly lived many lives, collecting wisdom, insight, and few scars along the way. Her songs are conversational in style, reminding one of Joni Mitchell, but her original stamp is clearly marked on all 8 tracks of this impressive work...with The Doorman, Kurn testifies about the harsh, cynical times she lives in. She, however, clothes her evidence in beautiful guitar work, compelling vocals, and a hard fought optimism....This album is not to be missed. - Performer Magazine


Emily Kurn knocked my socks Off!! I pulled it out of the package and played most of the songs on My Tuesday early morning show!
- Doug Echols, WPKN & WPKM


With an easy swing best attained out West, and the private, optimistic wit of a New England native, Emily Kurn has crafted simple songs that speak to the tentative coming-of-age person in all of us. She seemingly has it all together- her rich voice, the light lolling guitar, and just enough humor to make our realities acceptable and even fun. The title track, "The Doorman," is reflective and reminiscent of that early Dar William's wit. Keep your eye on her. Just graduating from Brandeis University, Kurn has paved her own way for a successful career if she chooses to chase it. - Soundcheck Magazine


I am totally in love with Emily's disc - there are alot of tracks to be played. Her music kind of dominated my listening....
- Tom Coxworth, CKUA


Although currently residing in Alaska, Emily Kurn remains in the loop of contemporary singer-songwriters. Kurn co-produced with Mark Thayer this 12-song CD, of which 11 of the songs are original. It's solidly pop with a consistent drumbeat on most of the tracks. Her edgy voice trembles with an unusual vibrato. However, don't let that dissuade you. Kurn knows how to get the most from her voice, and is an original, engaging writer. You can easily hear her lyrics above the band. The CD is something of a journey of maturing and finding oneself as implied by the title. "Angeline" is a gentle, slightly mystical song about a woman maturing and marriage. "If I'm An American" is a unique, passionate protest song with some interesting twists. She targets festering issues from a refreshing perspective. "We Build A Mountain" is a moving ecological protest song, again from a somewhat different perspective. "The Schmuck" is a novel song about renting an apartment with one of Kurn's trademark twists. "Mississippi Moon" might find a place on a Diana Jones album. Although Kurn is a very good writer, the most powerful song on the CD is "You Were Drunk" by Rose Polenzani. It's sends shivers down my spine every time l hear it. In just three minutes it wrings all the sorrow, wrongs, missing self-esteem, loneliness and lies of a one-night stand. It's the mirror image of Harry Chapin's "They Call Her Easy." In clever sequencing, the next song, "Wait For the Roses," starts with the line "Where do you go to fill up your cup?" It proceeds to tell of filling of the void so painfully laid open in the previous song. "Things Change," the title song, appropriately concludes the CD, contemplating the progression of life going from being the young daughter and ending with "My mom's in my face and she's living again." With this recording, Kurn establishes her place among contemporary singer-songwriters.--Rich Warren - Sing Out! Magazine


I am totally in love with Emily's disc - there are alot of tracks to be played. Her music kind of dominated my listening....
- Tom Coxworth, CKUA


Discography

2013- CHRISTINE LAVIN PRESENTS JUST ONE ANGEL V2.0
2008- I'M JUST LIKE YOU
2008- HUDSON HARDING SAMPLER VOL.3: HAPPY HOLIDAYS
2007- THINGS CHANGE
2007- HUDSON HARDING SAMPLER VOL.7: HAPPY HOLIDAYS
2003- WHITE BIRD
2002- THE DOORMAN
2001- INTO THE FALL
1999- EMILY KURN

Photos

Bio

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2009 ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOLK FESTIVAL
Emerging Artist Showcase- 3rd Place

2007 INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING CONTEST
Honorable Mention in the Americana Category

2008 SUSQUEHANNA MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
Songwriting Contest 2nd Place

2007 KERRVILLE NEW FOLK FINALIST

2007 WOODY GUTHRIE SONGWRITING CONTEST
2nd Place for "Mississippi Moon"

2007 WOODY GUTHRIE SONGWRITING CONTEST
Honorable Mention for "If I Am American"

2007 ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOLKS FEST SONGWRITER SHOWCASE
Honorable Mention

BEST ALBUM OF 2007- COLIN FIELDING
"Things Change" Chosen as one of the Top 6 Albums

#6 ON THE FOLK-DJ CHART, JULY 2007

#2 ON THE FOLK-DJ CHART, DECEMBER 2007

8 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF FOLK-DJ CHARTING

#17 ON THE FREEFORM AMERICANA CHART, Sept. 2007

#53 ON THE CALIFORNIA ROOTS MUSIC REPORT CHART

2004 JUST PLAIN FOLKS AWARD NOMINATIONS
Best Americana Song - Whitebird
Best New Folk Song - Annie and Sam
Best Roots Song - Dave's Song

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SONGWRITER'S ASSOCIATION AWARD
Best Song - "Annie and Sam" from Whitebird

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Although she is based in Anchorage, Alaska, Emily Kurn has maintained a steady presence in the folk music world and on folk and roots radio charts. As sparkling and engaging in her writing as she is onstage, Emily is "one of the exciting voices of folk music". (Miles of Music).

Her 2007 release, Things Change, recorded at the Signature Sounds Studio with Mark Thayer (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey), charted for 8 consecutive months on the Folk-DJ Chart, charting at #6 in July 2007. Her song, "Light the Lamp", charted at #2 in December, 2007.

Emily has earned a host of honors including 3rd place in the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Songwriting Contest (2009), 2nd place in the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriting Contest (2007), performing as a Kerrville New Folk Finalist (2007), Honorable Mention in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition Americana Category (2008), and 2nd place in the Susquehana Music and Arts Fest Songwriter's Contest (2008).

In 2007, her song "If I Am American" was featured on the documentary "American Music: Off the Record" featuring Jackson Browne, Iris DeMent, and Noam Chomsky, among others.

Contact: emilykurn (at) gmail.com