Devon Sproule

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Devon Sproule
Devon Sproule London 2013.JPG
Devon Sproule, London, 2013
Background information
Birth name Devon Sproule
Born ( 1982 -04-23) 23 April 1982 (age 32)
Kingston, Ontario
Origin Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Genres Folk, Indie folk
Occupation(s) musician, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 2000 - present
Labels Tin Angel Records
Associated acts Paul Curreri, Matt Curreri, Mike O'Neill, Carsie Blanton
Notable instruments
1954 Gibson ES-125

Devon Sproule (born 23 April 1982, in Kingston, Ontario) is a musician based for many years in Charlottesville, Virginia. She married musician and singer-songwriter Paul Curreri in 2005. She shared the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award for 2009 with Oren Lavie.[1] She and her husband moved to Berlin, Germany, in September 2011.[2] In the spring of 2012 they moved to Austin, Texas.

History[edit]

Born to hippie parents on a commune named Dandelion in Kingston, Ontario, Sproule claims citizenship of both Canada and the United States. She spent her childhood on the 465-acre (1.88 km2), 100-member Twin Oaks Community[3] founded in 1967 as an intentional community and ecovillage in Louisa County, Virginia. Asked about how the experience has affected her musical career, she said:

". . growing up with 80+ adults (many of whom I was very close to and spent lots of one-on-one time with) creates a need for versatile communication. That's what I see in people who have lived at Twin Oaks -- a desire to communicate and a willingness to do it not only on their own terms, or in their own personal language, but in whatever manner will get the job done . . growing up in an income-free environment, the lack of money never bothers me much . . So yes, on the whole, I'm proud of my alternative upbringing."[4]

After moving between private, public and home schooling, she eventually left high school, recorded her first record, and began touring nationally—all before the age of eighteen.[5]

She is married to musician Paul Curreri and lived with him in Charlottesville, Virginia. They often performed together locally, and also on tours across the United States and United Kingdom. They were both regular favorites at the now-defunct Gravity Lounge, a major platform for new talent in their hometown.

In September 2011 Sproule and Curreri moved to Berlin, Germany, citing professional and economic reasons. "It felt like a good career move, to not just grow careers, but to make money, which is hard when you're going back and forth," says Sproule. "It's really fun to play over there where you can play the folk shows, but you can also play a little theater of 20-year-olds who are sitting on the floor and they're blogging about it the next day."[6]

Sproule performed at the 2011 Bergenfest in Norway.[7]

Recordings[edit]

She released her first album when she was 16. Her second album, Long Sleeve Story, was released in 2001 with praise from The Village Voice. Upstate Songs, released in 2003, made it in Rolling Stone's Critics Top Albums of the year, followed by Keep Your Silver Shined in March 2007. She and Paul Curreri performed two tracks from the album, Old Virginia Block and Stop By Anytime, on the BBC's renowned Later With Jools Holland show in 2007.

¡Don't Hurry for Heaven! was released in April 2009. Standout songs from the record include its title track, opener Ain't That the Way with its delightful Ry Cooder-referencing outro, mini-anthem Good to Get Out and the heartfelt Julie.

Live in London, recorded with a stellar collection of musicians including English pedal steel player BJ Cole, was released in 2010.

I Love You Go Easy was released on Tin Angel Records in 2011 to further critical acclaim, accompanied by the single Now's the Time. It features a cover of Terre Roche's Runs in the Family, alongside some of Devon's most adventurous compositions to date. Highlights include the rhythmic Unmarked Animals and The Warning Bell, described by Devon as an unofficial sequel to Hang on the Bell, Nellie.

In the spring of 2013, Devon went into the studio in Toronto to record an album of songs co-written with Canadian singer-songwriter Mike O'Neill. A video for the song You Can't Help It was released in the summer and the resulting record, Colours, was released in September 2013. Musicians featuring on the record include Thom Gill and Robin Dann.

Devon's 1954 Gibson ES-125
Image by Timothy Caldwell

"Of course, I love playing guitar -- especially now that my husband and friends have given me, for my birthday, the perfect addition to my collection: a 1954 Gibson ES-125. It's a jazz guitar and while I'm certainly not a jazz guitarist, I steal absolutely as much as I can from the genre!”[8]

Devon Sproule

Style and sound[edit]

Sproule's music shares elements of indie, folk, country, and jazz.

“There's a refreshing sweetness about the work of this Canadian-American songwriter -- there in her mellifluous vocals and poetic, freewheeling lyrics that, in the way of Bjork and Joanna Newsom, are more blank verse than rhyming schemes. Sproule's songs ooze the atmosphere of balmy Virginia days - she grew up in a commune in the state - and her sunny outlook is infectious.” -

"Sproule’s songs are something to behold: Victoria Williams’ playfulness and spunk meeting up with Joni Mitchell’s confessional songwriting chops. To top it off, this is the sexiest, sultriest southern album since Lucinda’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.” - Paste

"The whole album brims with that kind of realist sentimentality—ten-cent yellow hat, rotten fruit kicked off a path, groundhog eating the lettuce right out of the ground, idly thinking about going to see a jazz band in town. Its styles range smoothly from jazz-standard (cello, clarinet) to bluegrass and folk (banjo, fiddle, harmonica) and beyond. Paramount are Sproule’s voice and a mood of homespun authority, happiness laced with a hint of pain, leavened with humor."[9]

The New YorkerKeep Your Silver Shined

Discography[edit]

  • Devon (1999, Three Word Records) - ASIN: B00000JKPC
  • Long Sleeve Story (2001, Three Word Records) – ASIN: B00005QY5Z
  • Upstate Songs (2003, City Salvage Records) – ASIN: B000CAGHY6
  • Keep Your Silver Shined (2007, Waterbug Records) – ASIN: B000N69OV2
  • Don't Hurry for Heaven (2009, Tin Angel Records) – ASIN: B00381BXVS
  • Live in London (2010, Tin Angel Records) — ASIN: B003Y7U8VM
  • I Love You, Go Easy (2011, Tin Angel Records) — ASIN: B004RJZ9JW
  • Colours (2013, Tin Angel Records) - with Mike O'Neill

Distinctions and awards[edit]

Hoxton Square Bar, London, UK, 2013
  • She shared the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award for 2009 with Oren Lavie. She joins previous winners such as: John Mayer, Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, Nicole Atkins, and John Francis.[10]
  • She was one of six 2008 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk winning songwriters picked from 32 finalists who performed during the 2008 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Concerts May 24 & 25.
  • She was nominated in the Emerging Artist category of the third annual Folk Alliance awards show broadcast February 20, 2008 from Memphis, Tennessee (simulcast on XM).[11]
  • Best Solo Music Act "Sweet, breathy vocals; a fetching, gentle stage presence; local roots with a capital 'L'; talent that just won't quit. You love Belmont-based songstress Devon Sproule the best, but with the success of her second record, Keep Your Silver Shined (she calls it her "getting married" album), she sure does travel a lot, so keep your calendars shined for her next local gig."[12] -- Best of C-Ville 2007.
  • She taught songwriting at the Third Annual NewSong Academy in August 2007 Shepherdstown, WV.[13]
  • Upstate Songs (City Salvage Records) was included in Rolling Stone's Critics Top Albums of 2003. Julie Gerstein called the record, "perhaps the sweetest and most honest folk-pop album recorded this year," and added, "Sproule's vocal and lyrical beauty is unmatched."[14]
  • Her future husband, singer-songwriter Paul Curreri dedicated his 2003 Songs for Devon Sproule CD (Tin Angel / City Salvage — ASIN: B0015HQGLE) to her.

Articles, reviews, interviews[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Two ASCAP Lyricists Named Recipients of the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award" reported by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), October 30, 2009
  2. ^ "Berlin bound: Sproule and Curreri head for Europe" by Justin Cober-Lake, August 22, 2011 in The Hook: MUSIC FEATURES.
  3. ^ "An Interview with Devon Sproule" by Bret Holmes Lucid Arts and Culture.
  4. ^ "The Lux Lotus Interview: Devon Sproule" by Laura Cerand, appearing April 27, 2006 in ART section Lux Lotus.
  5. ^ Official Website biography
  6. ^ "Berlin bound: Sproule and Curreri head for Europe" by Justin Cober-Lake, August 22, 2011 in The Hook: MUSIC FEATURES.
  7. ^ Bergenfest list of artists.
  8. ^ "The Lux Lotus Interview: Devon Sproule" by Laura Cerand, appearing April 27, 2006 in ART section Lux Lotus.
  9. ^ Larson, Sarah (16 July 2014). "Listen to Devon Sproule". The New Yorker (Conde Nast). Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Two ASCAP Lyricists Named Recipients of the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award" reported by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), October 30, 2009
  11. ^ "Ellen Jewell, Uncle Earl highlight Folk Alliance award nominees" News You Should Note posted February 4, 2008 No Depression.
  12. ^ "Best of C-Ville" 2007 C-Ville Weekly.
  13. ^ Third Annual NewSong Academy: Thur Aug 9 – Sat Aug 11 • 2007 // Shepherdstown, WV NewSong Festival.
  14. ^ "Our Critics Top Albums of 2003: Strokes, Shins and a whole lot of OutKast" posted Dec 31, 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine.

External links[edit]