Singer-songwriter shares power of musicWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
When Catie Curtis was 15, she wandered over to a neighbor’s garage sale and found herself staring at a guitar.
“This woman that I really didn’t know very well totally changed my life by handing me that guitar and saying to me: ‘You can have it if you learn to play it,’ ” Curtis recalled.
In 2008, the singer-songwriter dedicated her 11th disc, “Sweet Life,” to Lynne Ramsdell, and she started an endowment, Aspire to Inspire, which gives guitars to underprivileged youth.
“Someone finally heard about my dedicating the record to her and my starting this endowment in her honor, someone who knew her, and I finally got to speak to her brother in person, and it turns out that she passed away a year ago just after the record came out,” Curtis said.
“I wish that she had known how much she changed my life, but since I couldn’t really show her that, the best that I can do is try to pass along what she gave to me to other people.”
More than $11,000 has been raised for Aspire to Inspire, and 20 guitars have been given to kids.
Curtis is best known for her 1997 hit, “Soulfully,” and her optimistic attitude.
“I think it’s important to be hopeful and believe that it’s possible to make things better and to make ourselves better people. I think that becomes even more important when you have kids,” she said during a phone interview from her home in the Boston area. “When you open yourself to seeing the potential of what can happen, a lot of great stuff just naturally happens – and I want that for my kids, to open their minds and theirs hearts and have good things happen in their lives.”
For her 2009 CD, “Hello, Stranger,” Curtis was open to experimenting with bluegrass. The disc is a mix of rerecorded original songs and covers.
“We’re now calling it a string-band project because I wasn’t raised in a bluegrass physical world, and no matter how many banjoes or fiddles we put on the thing, it doesn’t exactly sound like bluegrass,” she said and laughed. “So we ended up with what I’m calling a Catie Curtis record with an old-time string band feel to it.”
She hopes fans will find the music familiar.
“When I put on a record that I love in my house, I feel like I’ve got a friend in the kitchen with me,” she said. “And when it’s a live show, I would hope it’s like an entertaining friend that sort of makes you forget the crappy day you just had.”
Curtis will play a solo show at 8 p.m. March 3 at the Ark in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
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