Some use their voices in classrooms and courtrooms. Some make their voices heard in pubs and churches. Few can say they cover all of these and more. In this edition of the Weekend Name Drop,  meet Rob Currie.

Name: Rob Currie

Creative field: Maritime Folk Singer-Songwriter; Law Professor; Author

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Best known for: Lead singer of The Cornerboys; Co-producer of his 2015 CD, Take Me Back; Worship leader at St Benedict Parish, Halifax;  Co-Author of International and Transnational Criminal Law which was shortlisted for the 2011 Walter Owen Book Prize for Outstanding Legal Literature; Recepient of the 2008 Dalhousie Law Students’ Society and Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching

My connection: I met Rob at the beginning of my first year at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He lived just a few doors down the corridor on the 3rd floor of Burke House. Rob was already immersed in his Political Science degree by then. Our floor was filled with guitar players and singers. I remember Rob singing on campus and at Bloomfield, covering The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. After Rob graduated, I lost track of him until that miracle of Facebook reconnected us. It turned out that Rob had become a law professor and an author, but he was very encouraging and complimentary of my own writing efforts. When he released his second album, Take Me Back, in 2015, I reviewed it on my blog and continue to listen to it. Rob has since been reading and even reviewing my books, so we’ve established a nice little mutual admiration society between the two of us, one that is genuine and affirming.

1934758_origInspiration for this writer: In addition to the affirmations and the admiration I have for him for his law career, Rob’s music has been an inspiration to me. As I wrote in my review of Take Me Back, “The album title rings in a Maritime theme and one close to my heart as a so-called expatriate. The theme of returning home with the hope that home will still have you is a genuine Maritime experience, not just one for sentimental lyricists. Currie begins and ends with this theme. The strains of the opening fiddle on This Old River centre the listener and I can’t help but sing along with the chorus when I replay it now.” I am writing this post on the eve of my second visit to Nova Scotia in twenty years and I am finding Rob’s music, particularly the title track and This Old River, speaking to me with a renewed resonance which challenges me as much as it inspires.

rob02Why you should check him out and share with others: Rob’s music shares a motif with my favourite singer-song writers: he’s a story-teller. We both share an affection for Bruce Springsteen and I see the Boss’ influence in his characters and themes. There is also Gordon Lightfoot in his melodies and picking, and some Stan Rogers and Great Big Sea in his harmonies. His work has been compared to Van Morrison. As a professor, Rob deals with international law, sharing his illuminating insights in radio interviews and in Facebook comments. His interest in international privacy and surveillance aligned with my treatment of the subject in my novel, The Chain. It would seem he is as respected by his colleagues and students – he is an award-winning teacher as well. Furthermore, Rob leads worship in his parish of St Benedict’s in Halifax. In some sense, however, it’s a shame he’s so clever at so many things – how great would it be to see more songs, CDs and concerts from this Maritime artist? You can read more reviews of Rob’s music on his website.

Sample of work:

Take Me Back

Eastern highway, little black stone
Driving all night just to get back home
‘Cause I know when the morning comes
I’ll be back where I started from

And I know when I get there
Gonna see the girl with the rose in her hair
I’ll take her back to where my time begins
And ask her to forgive my sins

Take me back where the river still runs
My travelling days must soon be done
Take me back to my father’s house
And there I’ll end my days

The weight on my back is bringing me down
Makes me long for my one-horse town
‘Cause there’s one place I can always turn
When I feel my footsteps starting to burn

I wanna feel the grass beneath my feet
Play in the valley that smells so sweet
My errant footsteps in the sand
Are leading me back to the promised land

Take me back where the river still runs
My travelling days must soon be done
Take me back to my father’s house
And there I’ll end my days

Churches and causes ain’t enough for me
I’ve lived my life kinda wild and free
When you’re finished paying off your debts
You only have enough left to place your bets

But my hands are weary, my legs turned to stone
I’m turning my eyes to my eastern home
I bid this dirty city adieu
And take you home, girl, like I promised you

Take me back where the river still runs
My travelling days must soon be done
Take me back to my father’s house
And there I’ll end my days

Here’s Rob, himself, playing his exquisite song, Rose of Avalon at the launch of his 2015 CD, Take Me Back at The Company House in Halifax, Nova Scotia:

Find out more: robcurrie.ca, rjcurrie.typepad.comFacebook, Twitter, soundcloud, YouTubeDalhousie University, Social Science Research Network

Update (3 October 2016): I managed to meet up with Rob during my visit to Nova Scotia. Great to see him offline.

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The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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