Southwest Showcase patrons were treated to an afternoon of great storytelling and songs from Don Amero in concert on March 10. Song writing is not an exact science. For example, the opening song – “Life Gets Better” took Amero 15 minutes to write and he says he has never changed a thing about it. The following number – “Mine” was created during a flight from Montreal to Moncton. “Instead of marveling at the miracle of flight I was frustrated there was no television on board,” he joked. The song was about a couple whose marriage had survived the husband’s affair and now he was in his last days. “He kissed me like a young man, so I know in the end he was mine. I believe we all stay at a younger state in our minds. The idea of being young forever — we all have the ability – it’s in how we carry ourselves, our attitudes – in the choice of letting the young person inside us live on. And the easiest way to stay young is to hang out with little people.”
Amero says his daughter Stella is his muse for a number of his songs. “She makes me laugh and shows me that girls are smarter than boys,” he joked. She inspired him to write “Head Over Heels”.
Being in the music industry for 13 years has been a blessing. “When I first started it was difficult. I believe it has worked because of why I do it. My goal is to write music that inspires the listener – to cause you to go out and live your best life. Music is medicine for the soul. When your aim is to touch the heart, people stay with you. As well, all my songs have a seed of hope.” For instance “Won’t Give Up” touches on the issues of mental health, depression and suicide.
Feedback is important to artists. Amero says the highlight of his career is receiving letters that state what his songs have meant to people. In one such letter the writer spoke about a friend who had depression and he played “Won’t Give Up” constantly, which helped her get through and back to health. “The songs don’t belong to me – they belong to whoever is in the room.”
Amero wrote “Going Home” ten years ago when his father-in-law passed away suddenly. The song is as if he (father-in-law) was telling his wife what it’s like to say goodbye – as if it was a letter written to her. “I will always cherish singing this song with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.”
He opened the second half of the concert with his originals — “Down The Road”, “Leave The Light On” and cover songs by Bruce Coburn – “Lovers In A Dangerous Time” and “Try” by Blue Rodeo.
Amero grew up in the north end of Winnipeg and his heritage is Metis/Cree/Acadian and has a strong interest in being in on the conversation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “My hope is that we focus on what makes us the same and see the beauty in our differences. We are all one – we need to stop seeing things on the surface and look deeper — that’s the inspiration for my song ‘We Are One’.
The final song was upbeat - ”Gonna Be A Good Day”. Following a standing ovation, Amero performed a sincere, heart-touching rendition of “Amazing Grace” to cap-off an excellent concert.