Deborah Crook’s recommendation: “I recently attended the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX, and amid the glut of bands, new, old and just starting, I made time to catch Suzanne Vega, who performed on March 17 at St David’s Historic Sanctuary. I hadn’t actively listened to her in years, but some of her earlier hits were pivotal in my getting the power of a song to convey emotion, redemption and meaning. Touring in support of a newly recorded collection of her hits, Suzanne Vega Close-Up, Vol. 1: Love Songs, from more than 25 years of writing and performing, what completely blew me away was how timeless her writing was, and is. And that I knew nearly every word of some of her songs reminded me how influential she was to my life and my own work. I was moved to re-listen to Small Blue Thing again and again, for it’s concision, melody and pure emotional truth.
And that is what makes her stand apart in my book. Her complete honesty, a voice that’s equal part, clear, emotive and cool and a knack for navigating a range of genres, from jazz to borderline hip-hop, and formats (given her through and through authenticity, I find it ironic that she was the first artist to perform in Second Life) without losing focus is paralleled by few. More importantly, her songs —whether contending with the thornier sides of relationships or child abuse— are completely relevant, whip-smart and catchy, whether re-arranged (ala the DNA mix of the song ‘Tom’s Diner”) or presented in their sparest format (ala the original a cappella version of the same song).”
New to Suzanne Vega? Start here:: “The new/old album she’s supporting is a great place to start for new listeners as it contains songs from the breadth of her career.”
Buy the album here:
Close-Up Vol. 1, Love Songs
Or listen to a track from the album:
More about the guest author, Deborah Crooks:
Listen to this singer-songwriter from San Francisco and you’ll hear echos of early Sheryl Crow and Natalie Merchant. She’s becoming a favorite staple at SXSW and is currently on tour to support her new EP, It’s All Up to You. Be sure to check her out.