Deborah Crook’s recommendation: â€œI 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 â€”whether contending with the thornier sides of relationships or child abuseâ€” 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.