Curwood returning

Hannah Curwood
Hannah Curwood
Former Dunedin singer-songwriter Hannah Curwood returns home for a gig at Chicks Hotel tonight with another former Otago resident, Simon Comber.

Curwood is based in Kingsland, Auckland these days, where she continues to work with a core band, including guitarist Tom Healy.

She left Dunedin a couple of years ago after reaching a milestone.

"I left Dunedin when Sky Above, Horse Below was released in 2007, to move to Auckland," she says of her first album, via the new-fangled interview medium of Facebook.

Since drifting north, she has put time into her songwriting and believes she may have got a handle on brevity and song enhancement, or something like that. The proof of some of that is contained in her newly released EP The Blind Love.

"I think my songwriting has become a lot more concise since I left Dunedin. I've really become aware of things that are important to me, such as melody and an interesting structure. And our development of a live line-up which includes strings, percussion and lots of backing vocals on top of Tom's eclectic electric guitar and my acoustic has enabled us to realise them consistently in a way that shows off the songs to their best advantage."

One of the reasons for the tour is to generate new material.

"I've been pretty busy, really. Obviously, the last few months have been focused on the release of this EP, promo and the tour.

"We have been playing live a lot and have now been together for about a year. Playing really special live shows has been a huge focus for us, and we've been lucky enough to build up a supportive following in Auckland.

"We played in Wellington last Saturday, too, to about 100 people and that was fantastic."

Curwood has also hit the studio for a couple of friends in esteemed places.

"I've also recorded some backing vocals for various people here and there. Most recently I sang some bvs (backing vocals) on the new Dimmer album Degrees Of Existence and The Checks' new record Alice By The Moon."

She also sang on an Elvis covers record recently, which should be surfacing some time soon.

"On top of that, I'm working as a veterinary nurse three days a week."

She has recently spent time in Australia, where she and her partner played with a friend.

"We went to Melbourne last year to perform on our friend Jen Cloher's album."

She's an Australian folk artist with a big fan base, and is amazingly talented, so that was a fantastic experience being flown over there and getting to record in beautiful Woodstock Studios.

"We haven't managed to take our own act overseas yet, due to lack of funds, but it is a definite aim to tour Australia and Europe in the next year. We just need to find the money. Being an independent artist, I've paid for everything myself for the last two records, tours etc so it's just a matter of trying to fill up the savings account again - after I pay off this record. And of course, we hope to get some funding along the way."

Hannah Curwood says she'll be touring again in late summer, but in the meantime fans and friends can catch her at Chicks Hotel tonight.

• Simon Comber, a one-time student on the University of Otago's graduate music diploma course, has been described as a young Don McGlashan.

- Hannah Curwood and Simon Comber play Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers, tonight.


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