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Susquehanna Life

Lewisburg's 'Pages of Paul' Releases New Song

Aug 04, 2015 06:25AM ● By Erica Shames

On a recent trip across Ohio, southeast of Columbus, Pages of Paul guitarist/songwriter/storyteller Paul Curcuruto noticed a sign pointing down what looked like a lost highway toward the village of Amanda.

Fascinated by the old roads partially visible alongside new highways, and with time and curiosity to spare, Curcuruto took a detour to visit the village.

What he saw and found there inspired Pages of Paul’s latest release. The town, bypassed by Route 22 and time, looked like a snapshot of the changes that befell a lot of small towns America in recent decades – stores closed, population aging and dwindling, and the preserved-in-amber look of a place where the clock stopped in the 1960s.

“At the edge of town, the sign reads ‘Amanda O.’ not the postal abbreviation OH like you’d expect,” said Curcuruto. “I thought for a second it was a woman’s name.” 

That provided the spark to craft a song that is both paean to a vanishing way of life and an evocation of a woman’s love:

Oh Amanda I drove right past ya, stopped the car and I turned around
Just to see what came to be when the highway bypassed the town
Not much to do old 22, stores are empty and the streets are bare
Called your name nobody answered, nobody listened, nobody cared

The song came all at once in a single burst of writing. “The muse dropped it all in my lap,” Curcuruto said.

Pages of Paul band members worked out the music at a series of open mics and gigs and recorded it with a dozen other original songs in what was planned as the band’s second full-length album release. But the song “Amanda O.” and a few others seemed to hang together and call for separate treatment.

“Combined with the songs ‘Ghost’ and ‘Missing Home,’ a cohesive and unified picture emerged,” Curcuruto said. “It’s about a sense of place and the people – gone and still here – who inhabit that place, what they make of it and the effect in turn it has on them.

On a whim, Curcuruto sent an mp3 of the finished song to Mark Moore, Amanda’s mayor, with a note explaining its genesis and the hope that his impressions weren’t too far off the beam. Moore telephoned almost immediately to say the song captured both the sense and reality of the town’s experience, invited Pages of Paul to perform at its fall festival and use the town as the setting for a video shoot, and offered the fire department’s help along with a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for the band members.

That performance/video shoot will take place Saturday, Sept 12, 2015. Band members promise to be on their best behavior.

“So we’re going to get to play ‘Amanda’ in Amanda for the people of Amanda,” said Curcuruto.

Information provided by Mark Tomeo. To hear "Amanda O," click here.

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