Finding her calling
Folk singer/songwriter Catie Curtis has recently embraced a brand-new role that further expresses her passion and purpose: ordained minister for same-sex couples.
Curtis, who began her musical career in the coffeehouses of Rhode Island, has performed at national festivals including the Newport Folk Festival and Lilith Fair. Hit television shows such asGrey's Anatomy and Dawson's Creek have featured her songs. In an industry fixated on edgy trends and extravagant fashions, Curtis had created a revealing oeuvre that has never gone out of style.
This summer brought even more reason for Curtis to celebrate. Recorded live in Los Angeles' Stampede Origin Studio, her eleventh album, Stretch Limousine on Fire, was released last August. Although Curtis deftly handles an array of subjects on the album, all of her songs reflect a distinctive point of view.
"They say you should write about what you know," she says. "I grew up in a quiet town in Maine, and I wrote about the intense, authentic experience of being in love. As I go through life, there are so many other things we go through---illness, birth, death. I've written about politics, but not so much on this album."
Recording the new album was a rewarding experience, but Curtis says performing live in front of an audience is the ultimate thrill.
"My mission as a performing songwriter is for people to feel connected to me or to the people sitting next to them," she says. "The audience puts a certain trust in me. (My music) is tragic and humorous and beautiful. The most satisfying thing is to sense this community that develops."
Curtis' music offers comfort and resolve to her listeners, and that same spirit is carried into her as a wedding minister. She's officiated six ceremonies since being ordained last fall, and more are planned in the coming months.
Since Curtis is a full-time touring musician, the couples simply set their wedding date around her hectic schedule.
"It's a real privilege to be a part of their ceremonies," Curtis says. "Most couples are long-time fans that have become friends (of mine)."
It remains to be seen how the same-sex marriage issue will progress, but Curtis conveys hope that all couples will one day be allowed to set their own course.
"I think it's nice for couples to have a choice. I don't feel anybody should tell anybody what to do, she says. "Not everybody should necessarily have a ceremony. But I think for some people this is a meaningful event where they can bring their community together and feel celebrated. For them it's very moving and very worthwhile. It helps them to weather difficult times."
The struggle to keep love alive hits home. Curtis and her partner Liz were married in Massachusetts, and the couple have two children together through adoption. She says that potential parents need to be resilient during such a difficult process.
"We strongly believe in adoption. There's a synchronicity to it in that when we were matched with these children we knew it was meant to be," Curtis says. "And I think our children want that affirmation (of us being married). We wanted our relationship to be as solid as it can be."
More on Catie Curtis:
Long-time musical heroes: Lucinda Williams, Star Williams, Karla Bonoff, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt
Current musical favorites: Brett Dennen, Josh Ritter, The Weepies
Favorite wedding couple so far: "There was a couple who met in the late Nineties at one of my shows. They had met years ago at a benefit couple. They were both doing work on the non-profit side so they were for altruistic reasons. Once they saw each other again, they decided they were meant to be."