Some artists wear quirky like a badge, almost daring listeners to keep up. Devon Sproule takes a quieter approach. There’s a singular quality about her songs, deeply personal yet somehow radiating larger truths, but with Don’t Hurry For Heaven, Sproule simply puts ‘em out there and leaves decisions up to the listener.
Sproule lives in Virginia with husband Paul Curreri, who produced the disc and adds instrumental contributions on piano, guitar, banjo, and percussion. With original recordings done in England, it was Curreri who carried the tapes home and pushed the project through to completion, showing a deft hand for layered production that’s invariably intriguing yet never intrusive.
Sproule’s songs are pure pop, but there’s a depth to her imagery and a greater emotional resonance than the word ‘pop’ typically connotes. Her wordplay is clever without affectation, her melodies catchy but without obvious hooks. She looks at life through innocent eyes and with a sense of almost childlike wonder, though she’s never naïve; she simply sings with disarming candor about lives heading in the wrong direction, letting the lessons emerge on their own.
Sproule delivers everything with sprightly good spirits, her voice a clear and candid marvel. Her songs sound simple but are deceptively tricky, and she toys with meter with effortless ease to exhilarating effect. Curreri duets on a surprising cover of Black Uhuru’s “Sponji Reggae,” while folk legend Jesse Winchester shows up for a cameo on the disc’s opener, ”Ain’t That The Way.”
Don’t Hurry For Heaven is a fine outing that should garner Sproule lots of attention, but it seems she has a (somewhat bemused) handle on things – as she sings on the closing track, "A Picture Of Us In The Garden," “Honey, how are we supposed / to ever have us a family / When the business won’t give us a buck? / I guess it’s lucky / I’m still pretty young.” How’s that for grace and wisdom beyond her years?
Definitely one to watch, this Devon Sproule …!