I flipped over singer Suzy Bogguss when I saw her perform with her band at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis in 2011. I wrote about the show here. Suzy played many of her hits and previewed her then unreleased recording of traditional American music. She has a moving voice and a perfect feel for great material, including the traditional music she brought back to life on the subsequently released American Folk Songbook. She is an incredibly engaging performer and a gifted interpreter. I love her work.
Suzy had hits galore gracing the charts when she first made a name for herself in country music, but she has been pursuing her muse outside the confines of a big label for the past several years. In 2001 she founded Loyal Dutchess Records for her recordings. In 2014 she took to Kickstarter to raise $75,000 for her most recent disc, a collection of songs by Merle Haggard that she titled Lucky. I declare it a marriage made in Cosmic American Music heaven.
Suzy explained: “As with the last few records I’ve made, I spent my own money to record and mix this album. Now, I would really like to give Lucky the promotion and push that I think it deserves.” She offered some interesting opportunities in her Kickstarter post. I couldn’t hit the $10,000 level that would have brought her to my home for a performance, but it gave me a new goal to reach for now that our youngest daughter is about to graduate from college. I signed up for an autographed disc with bonus cuts and a Lucky t-shirt.
Suzy is still touring in support of Lucky. On Friday night she appeared for two shows at the Dakota. We sat at a table up close to the stage during the first show. From our table I snapped the photo above of Suzy with Charlie Chadwick on bass and Craig Smith on lead guitar.
As always, it was a beautiful show. Suzy doesn’t save her best stuff for the encore. Her first four songs in the first set Friday night were a Johnny Cash oldie and three of her own hits: “I Still Miss Someone,” “Outbound Plane,” “Someday Soon,” and “Aces” — a grand slam if there ever was one.
Before the last number of her encore, Suzy testified to her fondness for the Dakota and its servers, who unobtrusively do their work as she does hers. She then praised the room’s acoustics and stepped out from behind the microphone to demonstrate them as she performed “Red River Valley” unamplified. It was a special moment.
The video below gives you her recorded version of the song from the American Folk Songbook disc. I thought some readers unfamiliar with her work might enjoy it.