Emily Kurn

Emily Kurn

 Anchorage, Alaska, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

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. (MILES OF MUSIC, 2007)

Biography

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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

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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

Lyrics

If I Am American

Written By: Emily Kurn

The dollar is king in the world where I’m living
The heart is a pawn
The whole world I fighting an unnamed war
On my front lawn

But if I am American born
If this is what my relatives fought for
Shouldn’t I be proud of what I am
If I am American

Out on the street in Cambodia and Vietnam
Locals leaned forward to ask me,
“Where are you from?
I told them “Canada, Land of the Maple Leaf,
Keepers of Snow.”
“Oh!” They said, “You’re from Canada,
Must be very cold.”

CHORUS

I’m deciding what colors to paint the kitchen
In my new house
I like maroon with a white or a blue trim
All around
But I am afraid to use red white and blue as a color scheme
I don’t know why but I might have to skip blue and go with green

CHORUS

If I am American,
If the one I vote for doesn’t win
If my country doesn’t act in ways that I approve
Am I still a member of the club?
Proud to tell the world where I am from
If I’m not should I just pack my bags and move?

CHORUS

Piano Hands

Written By: Emily Kurn

Illinois, the windy city
Red brick building, shiny shoes
A little girl, my mama’s mama
April 1922

You were young, on the doorstep smiling
All the world was something new, in 1922
In the sun with your sister Violet
I can see myself in you, and you did too-

Halloween, with a silk umbrella
You’re out posing on the lawn
A crooked smile and a braided halo
With your arm around your mom

Seventeen, in the front yard smiling
All the world was something new
In the sun with your sister Violet
I can see myself in you, and you did too

Old paper black and white is how I feel tonight
But you are color in the lens
I have your photographs,
all spread out on my desk
‘Cuz I wish that I could be with you again

You were young, you were much like I am
All the world is something new
You were strong, with those piano hands
I can see myself in you, and you did too

Mississippi Moon

Written By: Emily Kurn

I’m a poor girl from Plaquemine, Louisiana
And my Daddy grew the biggest crops around
Okra sweet as honey,
Daddy didn’t have no money
We got our goods out of the ground
It was morning when we saw
the trucks a-coming
Lined up on the river road due south
There must have been about fifty
Headed down the Mississippi
To the gated yard where they tore
the old church down

It was our playground where the egrets flew
Above the Mississippi moon
Now it’s gone gone gone away too soon

From the window over Mama’s piano
You can see steam rise
and metal wheels spin
I was my Daddy’s only daughter
I was baptized in the water
That we’re not allowed
to dip our bodies in

It was our playground where the egrets flew
Above the Mississippi moon
Now it’s gone gone gone away too soon

Now my family’s garden bed is barren
Because the white men say
there’s poison in the ground
We lost Joseph and Aunt Sally
We still live on Cancer Alley
And my Daddy swears one day
we’re moving out

It was our playground where the egrets flew
Above the Mississippi moon
Now it’s gone gone gone away too soon

I'm Just Like You

Written By: Emily Kurn

We all started in the water and we swam into the room
Where the lamps were all much brighter
than the lighting in the womb
And the air was cold inside our lungs
We found some comfort in our thumb
So we stuck it in our mouth

And we wish we could go back
to that place that only we knew
But we couldn't find the door,
still the voice was so familiar
So we let her calm us down,
and we wrapped our tiny hand around her finger

I'm just like you
You're just like me
Sometimes that's almost impossible to see
Our blood both runs blue through our hands and our feet
I'm just like you
You're just like me

From the southern tip of Chile
to the valleys in Nepal
In the castles of Great Britain,
up against the wailing wall
From the blackest of the black at night
the palest of the pinkish white
the yellow of the sand

In the kitchens of Fallujah
On the shores of Vietnam
In the trees of California
In the vines of the Amazon
Where the reindeer walk in Norway
Where the rhesus monkeys play
We all gather by the fire,
pushing through another day

I'm just like you
You're just like me
Sometimes that's almost impossible to see
Our blood both runs blue through our hands and our feet
I'm just like you
You're just like me

Even Plato didn't like to be alone
Even Joan of Arc wished she could go home
Maybe William Shakespeare felt misunderstood
Maybe Jesus wish he's stuck to nailing wood

I'm just like you
You're just like me
Sometimes that's almost impossible to see
Our blood both runs blue through our hands and our feet
I'm just like you
You're just like me

You're Far Away

Written By: Emily Kurn

You're far away, you're a flash of light
in the mess of stars by Orion's side
You're far away, you're a ray of sun
on the first green leaf when the Spring has come

And I recognize you every single time
I'm always out there looking for the signs

You're far away in a redwood stand
You're an alpine rose blooming from the sand
You're far away falling from the sky
You're the April rain when the dirt is dry

And I recognize you every single time
I'm always out there looking for the signs

Once I thought I saw you in a crowd
When you disappeared, I yelled your name out loud

You're far away, I don't have a clue
how to get there if I wanted to
You're far away where I've never been
but I'll come one day and you'll let me in

'Cuz I recognize you every single time
I'm always out there looking for the signs

Hotel Room

Written By: Emily Kurn

We spooned last night in a hotel bed
the walls were brown and the carpet was red
nickels and dimes on the hotel floor
I pulled the chain across the door
Checkout time was all too soon
We could have stayed forever in that hotel room-

The sun shone through the curtain lace
As you wrapped your arm around my waist
Lying still I could feel your heat
my hands on your hands, my feet on your feet
Checkout time was all too soon
We could have stayed forever in that hotel room-

So you played a song on your big guitar
Sweet Sweet Rose and her hidden heart
I could hear that tune a thousand times
play and rewind, play and rewind
Checkout time was all too soon
We could have stayed forever in that hotel room-

Everything has a start and end
So we packed the car to hit the road again
A cup of coffee and a double take
And I let you off at the airport gate
Checkout time was all too soon
We could have stayed forever in that hotel room-

Abalone Town

Written By: Emily Kurn

Yellow hills and the manzaneet,
tumbling falls down at Redwood Creek,
I'll put the blanket on the ground

Look up hard through the graddad oak
lichen moss twisted thick as rope
watch the red hawk float around

Hot hay, red barn, grape vine, chicken farm
Santa Rosa plum pit, purple flesh dripping down your chin

Coleman Valley to Bodega Head
tide pools leap from their salty bed
It's abalone town

I'll go walking along the cliff,
you'll bring tea if you think of it
when the mercury is down

Hot hay, red barn, grape vine, chicken farm
Santa Rosa plum pit, purple flesh dripping down your chin

Point Reyes, Dillon Beach, Muir Woods, Lagunitas, Inverness, Villa Grande, Bolinas never can be found
Hot Springs, Valley Ford, Freestone, Rohnert Park, Penngrove

Hot hay, red barn, grape vine, chicken farm
Santa Rosa plum pit, purple flesh dripping down your chin

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

Set List

Emily typically plays two 45 minute sets.

Sets are mostly original with few covers.