Courage My Love: Empathy is the New Sex and Drugs of Rock ’N’ Roll

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

That single word, by the band’s own admission, is their ethos. To be empathetic, write music that’s important to the people that listen to it, and to not be too proud to write about their own insecurities and failings.

That is Courage My Love.

Frontwoman, guitarist, and interviewee Mercedes Arn-Horn is happy to confess that she and the band want to be The Beatles of today (though she does say, and very accurately, “every band wants to be The Beatles, whether they admit it bluntly or not”) but there is more to it than that. Backed by bassist Brandon Lockwood and drummer Phoenix Arn-Horn what they want to be remembered for, alongside, but equally important to, positively changing the world and music, is being an inspiration.

“It would be [for] a lonely night in a kid’s bedroom, the moment they listened to our song, turned off the radio, and picked up a guitar and strummed for the first time.”

I’ve been that kid. There are millions of kids that have been that kid.

And Courage My Love would happily give up hit singles, massive record sales and amazing performance to see that dream come to fruition. There aren’t many bands that would do that. Sure, there’s endless talk about connection, about being honest, about giving people a place to go. But Courage My Love feel more real.

“I’ve always believed,” Arn-Horn writes, “that if you just write from the heart and write music that you love, other people will love it too.”

Notice the “just,” the simple word that makes writing from the heart seem as simple and easy as breathing? It’s at the core of what they do and talking to Arn-Horn you get the impression that it’s always been at the core. It’s not, and never will be, a gimmick to sell more records.

“We’re 100% honest about our feelings or what we’re going through but we’re not trying to tell a story about ourselves. We want everyone to be able to relate to it…if a song helps one of our fans through a dark time in life and helps them make good choices, then we’ve done our job.”

As Arn-Horn puts it, “we’re still growing up” and that, if anything, is a testament to a band that clearly haven’t lost touch with who they are and what they’ve been through.

“We aren’t afraid to open up,” she continues,  “about love, or pain, or redemption…Our fans have either gone through or are currently going through most of the feelings we write about.”

Where age is usually irrelevant I can’t help but think that only being in their early 20s gives the band a better idea of exactly what goes on in their fans lives. We’re not talking about forty year old men drinking whisky and writing number one pop songs in their villas, we’re talking about a band who write as much for their fans as they do for themselves.

It’s, dare I say it, a courageous prospect (think of how many of us would be mortified if our journals were exposed to the world) and they’re not content setting their proverbial sights only on pouring their hearts out.

“We don’t have all the answers,” Arn-Horn says, “but we want our fans to know they are never alone. We want them to be inspired to make a difference in the world and change it for the better.”

Her anarchistic qualities come through for a moment, “if you don’t like something about the way the system runs, have the courage to stand up and change it.”

Their sentiment is on par with the emotional rock of Finland’s Negative and if one thing is certain, it’s that they mean every word of it. Courage My Love are as emotional and raw as their songs make out to be and that brings with it an authenticity that can’t simply be learned.