Don Amero’s long road home

The singer-songwriter talks Keith Urban, his new album, and balancing life on the road with his family

Local singer-songwriter Don Amero has found out that being a decorated and celebrated musician doesn’t come easy, a theme found throughout his new album. Courtesy Don Amero

Don Amero has to be one of the hardest working musicians on the local scene.

But with the release of his new album, The Long Way Home, he’s learning to spend less time working and more time with family and friends.

“I think because I am a torn man between the love of my friends and family and also my love for the road, I feel like I’m always taking the long way home,” said Amero via email from Calgary.

“A lot of the songs on the album are about love, being lost in love and even being too far from love. I spent so much, probably too much, time working and this year I’ve really tried to balance my workload with some downtime.”

The road to becoming an award-winning musician started when Amero was 15, with an old Gibson and a few basic chords.

Since then Amero has released three albums, including 2006’s Change Your Life and 2009’s Deepening, and won an exhausting list of awards. He won Male Artist of the Year at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

This time around, Amero is nominated for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year, Best Album Cover Design and Best Pop CD at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards happening Nov. 5.

Although he has garnered comparisons to John Mayer and Jack Johnson, The Long Way Home has more of a country flavour, which Amero explains to be partly accidental and partly influenced by the music he’s listening to these days.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Keith Urban this year,” said Amero, adding Mayer, Blue Rodeo, and Martin Sexton to the list. “I think my likes in music have been swinging a little more country and so that’s obviously influenced my writing and playing.”

The album also features song collaborations from some of Winnipeg’s best songwriters, including Arun Chaturvedi, Chris Burke-Gaffney, Sandy Taronno and Jay Tooke.

“It’s been great. I think with co-writing you can get a more focused song,” Amero said. “With co-writers we’re always making sure the song makes sense to everyone in the room.”

Although he will be on the road promoting the new album for most of November, he has something special planned for the Christmas season.

“This Christmas I am doing a little show called Amero Little Christmas,” he said. “It’s a bunch of traditional carols sung in our own way.

“My hope is to get people to slow down and relax for an evening and just enjoy some of their favourite songs while sipping on some apple cider and eating a few homemade goodies.”

Published in Volume 65, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 4, 2010)

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