Singer-songwriter Corinna Rose of Montreal penned the song “Green Mountain State” about Vermont and the feeling of being home. Her song, which was featured in the film “Take This Waltz,” is up for a John Lennon Songwriting Contest award (it has already been selected as one of the top two prizewinners in the Folk category), and voting is open through April 29, 2014. Have a listen below, and trust us, you won’t be able to get this song out of your head.
We caught up with Corinna recently about this song and her love of Vermont.
VL: You’re a Montreal resident, how did you develop an affinity for Vermont?
CR: Vermont is amazingly close to the Quebec border — my grandfather rents a cottage near Magog in Quebec (about an hour outside of Montreal), and so we ended up visiting Vermont now and again during the summers when I was a kid. I’ve been to Jay Peak a number of times to go snowboarding, have road-tripped through Vermont a few times, and I very nearly went to UVM in Burlington to do my master’s. It practically feels like Canada to me!
VL: Why do you think your song was included in “Take This Waltz”?
CR: It’s funny — “Take this Waltz” is a very Canadian film. Sarah Polley (the director) is a Canadian darling, and the film is set and shot in Toronto and also Cape Breton. She first heard “Green Mountain State” at one of my shows a long time ago, long before I was ever trying to do music as a career, back when I used to play in a folk collective called The Rusty Horse Band. We were playing a show at a small venue in Montreal for a fundraiser, and we were the last band to play out of five, and there were maybe 12 people in the audience at midnight on a Thursday night. It ended up being one of the best shows we ever played — people were dancing and clapping and we got a few encores too. At the end of the night, Sarah asked me about “Green Mountain State” and told me how much she loved the song. About six months later I received an e-mail from her asking if she could use it over the opening credits of the film. I was floored (and of course said yes!). Even though the song isn’t about Canada, I think it had the feeling that she wanted — the feeling of home. She said she had had the song stuck in her head through much of the filming of the movie and had played it on set several times and was delighted when it still fit in postproduction.
VL: Crossing the border into Vermont gives a lot of people that sigh of relief. Do you remember when you first felt it? And/or when you wanted to put it into a song?
CR: Very clearly — in fact, that’s what the song is about for me! The song was written after the band took a road trip from Montreal out to New Hampshire to do some recording and hang out with one of my bandmate’s family. On the way there, we passed through Vermont, and I was just immediately spellbound. It felt like some home away from home, and I just wanted to jump out of the moving car and climb up on a mountain and meditate there for the rest of my life. I did not end up doing that, but I never forgot it, and I’m just glad I live close to it (even if I don’t live in it). When I arrived home a week later, I already had a song in my head. I don’t think I’ve ever had a song come out of me that easily since.
VL: When you’re playing out, do you ever have folks from Vermont talk to you about the song?
CR: This has indeed happened a couple of times! There was a really sweet couple sitting in the audience at the Montreal Folk Festival last summer who asked me about it after the show. Usually people are just curious to know why, as a Canadian, I would write about Vermont! I also had a couple of friends get married in Vermont last summer, and as a wedding gift, my autoharpist Leah and I played an instrumental version of “Green Mountain State” as the processional music for the wedding. It was such a magical day, and it was so cool to be able to play the song in Vermont. Since I didn’t sing the lyrics, we didn’t get asked about it, but it was nice to know in our hearts what it was about and to now have the song associated with two dear friends. Coincidentally, on the way home from the wedding, I received an e-mail letting me know that the song had won the grand prize for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Folk category!
VL: Do you have any upcoming shows in Vermont?
CR: Unfortunately I don’t have anything planned just yet. I have yet to play a show in Vermont, which is a real shame. This will be changing in the fall though! I am planning a little Eastern U.S. tour in November (to play my first shows ever in the U.S.!), and I will be performing in Vermont, exact date and venue TBA. Anyone with suggestions for venues and places to play can get in touch with me via http://www.corinnarose.com/contact